Financial Literacy Newsletter - March 2017
March is Fraud Prevention Month!
A word from the Leader
March is Fraud Prevention Month and a good time to get some information to reduce the chances of being a victim of financial scams.
We are constantly on our phones and online, and fraudsters are always looking for new ways to lure people into sharing personal information so that they (fraudsters) can get access to their accounts.
This special edition newsletter will provide interesting tips from different organizations on how to keep yourself protected so that you don’t become a victim of financial fraud.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud
Each year, the Competition Bureau spearheads Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. This year marks the 13th annual education and awareness campaign that began in 2004 and encourages Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.
Check out the Competition Bureau’s tips below, and visit the Bureau’s fraud prevention portal for more information and many other resources to help you fight fraud.
- Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
- Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
- Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
- Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
- Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
- Only share your personal information with companies you contacted and that you know and trust. This includes information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance, and driver’s license numbers. Don’t give out more than you need to.
- Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
- Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
- If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report it! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.
Fraud prevention a cornerstone of new credit union-led financial workshop program: Each One, Teach One
“Who is worried about the possibility of being the victim of identity theft or fraud?”
This question kicks off credit unions’ Each One, Teach One financial literacy workshop to help Canadians identify theft and prevent fraud. During the 90 minute workshop, participants learn:
- how thieves steal and use personal information
- tips to keep financial and personal information safe
- what to do if you’re the victim of fraud or identity theft
Identifying and preventing fraud is one of seventeen workshops that make up Each One, Teach One – credit unions’ new national financial literacy program, developed by Vancity credit union. Since inception in 2008, Vancity has trained 20% of its workforce to deliver in-community Each One, Teach One workshops, reaching more than 10,000 individuals each year.
In 2016, in collaboration with the Canadian Credit Union Association, Vancity Each One, Teach One coaches travelled across Canada to train credit union colleagues to deliver workshops in their communities. During the pilot project from September to December 2016, 100 credit union staff were trained from 60 credit unions. Those who were trained, in turn, delivered more than 50 workshops, reaching nearly 500 people by the end of 2016.
Each One, Teach One is delivered in plain language and meets people where they are, when they seek training. And, workshop participants are guaranteed that they will receive unbiased information, not a sales pitch. All credit union staff trained to deliver Each One, Teach One workshops sign an agreement that they will focus on providing information and not selling their organization’s products and services.
In 2017, more credit unions will adopt the Each One, Teach One program and begin delivering workshops in communities. For a full list of workshop topics or to find out if a credit union near you offers Each One, Teach One see: www.eachoneworkshops.ca.
Protect yourself from online fraud
Have you heard the story of a Toronto student who was so excited to get his first credit card that he posted a photo of it on Facebook? Someone asked him to show the other side, so he posted another picture of his signature and the three-digit number on the back of his card, opening himself up to fraud.
Whether you’re shopping, keeping in touch with friends, or planning a vacation, there are risks to being online.
Aside from oversharing on social media, some of the other ways people expose themselves to fraud include:
- using public Wi-Fi to access online banking accounts
- entering personal information on unsecure or fake websites
- downloading viruses, spyware or malware
- allowing your computer to save your password or personal information
- creating an online profile that includes your credit card or banking information
- saving passwords on your computer in a file that has not been encrypted, or protected by a key or password
It’s far easier than you might expect for hackers to access information on the Internet and it’s important to protect yourself so you don’t become a victim of identity theft and financial loss.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has information on its website to help you learn how to protect yourself from fraud.
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The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's newsletter showcases financial literacy initiatives taking place across Canada, in order to promote best practices and spark new initiatives or partnerships that will bring us closer to a more financially literate Canada.
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