Tips For Fraud Protection and Protecting Your Identity

Fraud. These five letters can spell frustration for any Canadian, but there’s a lot you can do to fight back. Whether you’re at home, abroad or online, you can take practical steps to avoid fraud and protect your identity. In fact, boosting your security is easier than you might think.

Here are some simple tips that can limit your risk of being a victim of fraud.

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

When it comes to fraud prevention, security doesn't just come in the form of fancy software or a flashy app. Your best form of security isn’t fancy software or an armed guard. Your best asset for preventing fraud is you. By being smart, safe and alert with your finances, you’ll be able to see issues before they happen. Here’s how:

  • Guard your card. Play defense against prying eyes by protecting your PIN when making purchases and make a habit of changing your PIN regularly. Also, keep your card somewhere safe so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
  • Stay alert at the ATM. Cover your PIN and be aware of your surroundings. Contact someone if there’s something that seems suspicious going on with the machine. Make a habit of keeping receipts from non-bank ATMs so you have physical records of these transactions.
  • Track your transactions. When you keep an eye on your transaction history or spending activity, you can spot when something unusual (like an extra or missing transaction) has occurred with your money. Stay up to date on your transactions at the touch of a button by using a mobile banking app, going through your bank’s website or taking advantage of a trusted budgeting app.
  • Send it securely. When sending an eTransfer, make sure your security question is something that only the recipient would be able to answer. If the answer to your question can be guessed, answered as “yes” or “no” or is something that can be researched (like “What’s Canada’s largest city?”), it could leave you vulnerable. Keep your answer a single word and a secret and you’ll boost your eTransfer’s security.

Use new tech that can help prevent fraud and identity theft

In an increasingly digital world, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. In fact, there are lots of opportunities to add to your sense of security.

  • Trust in two-step verification. This is the process where two authentication methods are needed to access your account and make transactions online. It adds a layer of security that makes it harder for hackers to use your account.
  • Rethink your wallet with touch-to-pay services. Concerned about giving your physical card to a merchant? You can keep your card in your own hands by having a version of your card on your phone. (Services like Apple Pay are an example of this.) You can still make the transactions you need, all with your debit or credit card never changing hands.
  • Handle with care. When signing, sending or sharing sensitive documents, you may want to implement things like digital signatures, data encryption and anonymizing services to keep private information private.
  • Close it out. Are you using a public computer to do private business? Log out of accounts and do not save passwords during your session. This way the next person using the device doesn’t have automatic entry into personal details and accounts.
  • Use anti-virus software. Add to your protection online so you can avoid potential issues like malware, ransomware and other threats to your device and identity.

Know What Can And Can’t Be Asked Over The Phone

It’s not uncommon to make a transaction or sort out financial matters over the phone. But sometimes fraudsters will ask you questions by phone in a bid to extract sensitive information from you. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t talk about on the phone:

  • Be careful what you reveal on the phone. Fraudsters sometimes claim to be from reputable organizations to trick you into giving away sensitive information. Remember, Revenue Canada and other financial institutions will never call you and ask for this information. They already have it available and wouldn’t ask you to reveal it over the phone.
  • You should never give your bank account number, credit card number or other financial information over the phone unless you’ve either a) initiated the call or b) have complete confirmation of whom you are speaking to. It’s better to practice caution in these situations. Reputable financial institutions will understand why you’re playing it safe. If you encounter suspicious activity, get in touch with law enforcement as well.
  • Beware of scams. You may be contacted and pressured into paying for a service you didn’t use. If you receive a call or email demanding payment for something like an overdue premium or a loan that you didn’t agree to, take control by alerting your bank. They can investigate the party making the claim and see if there’s any suspicious activity’s been occurring on your account.
  • Watch out for fake insurers trying to get you to give up sensitive information. They may try to acquire your personal information, as well as your money, by offering too good to be true pricing and other “deals.” If a legitimate insurer is contacting you, they will identify themselves clearly and provide details of your insurance that you can validate. If you're ever in doubt, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s official website which offers links to provincial directories for insurers, brokers, or agents.
  • Invest in additional protection by purchasing Identity Theft Recovery. This generous package offers you the help of skilled professionals, who will work with you until your identity is restored to pre-theft status if you encounter an identity theft issue.

Look Out For These Warning Signs

Knowing how to spot potential fraud is the most important tool in your fraud prevention kit. If you’re a TD customer and you notice any of these unusual activities, don’t hesitate to reach out to TD fraud protection. We’re ready to help you.

  • You’ve received fraud alert notifications from your bank. For example, with TD Fraud Alert, you will receive an instant text message notifying you if we detect suspicious activity on your TD Credit Cards or TD Access Cards.
  • Your bank statement, online activity or passbook reveals transactions that you don’t recognize. This can be a major red flag for identity theft.
  • You’ve been contacted by a creditor about a credit card application received in your name that you did not complete.
  • Your credit card, bank or other billing statements feature a name that does not belong to you or your account.
  • You notice your mail is no longer being delivered to your address.
  • Your credit card, chequebook or passbook goes missing.

For increased protection against fraud and to learn more about identity theft, see our Identity Theft Recovery protection package.