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I'm a writer and personal finance expert from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I write about saving, budgeting, and debt.

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Keeping Your Digital Information Safe in the Tech Era

This post is sponsored by Capital One Canada. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

What happens when someone steals your credit card information, really?

Does someone withdraw a bunch of cash from your credit card and disappear into the night?

Do they use your information to take out a loan in your name?

Or do they steal your identity completely, get a new birth certificate printed and live life as you?

I think that last one only happens in the movies.

The truth is, according to a recent study by Capital One Canada, only 71% of Canadians are aware of the impact of identity theft on their finances, and only 53% of us are taking some of the recommended steps to prevent it from happening. Those numbers aren’t nearly high enough in my opinion, so in honour of Fraud Prevention Month, I’m doing my part to share best practices around protecting yourself from identity theft.

The bad thing about Canadians and identity theft is that we, as a group, don’t know enough about it and we aren’t doing enough to stop it.

The good news is, protecting yourself from identity theft is just a matter of implementing habits and practices that, once they become second nature to you, have very little impact on your everyday life.

Many of us are already doing the obvious things like protecting our PIN numbers (88% of us do this) and regularly checking our bank accounts and credit cards (76% of us do this). But in the online age, there are a few other best practices that you can implement to make yourself an unappetizing target to fraudsters.

Here are three things you can do today to protect yourself from credit card fraud:

Checklist for Fraud Prevention

  • Take Advantage of Built-In Fraud Prevention Features: Many credit cards now have fraud detection features built in, but you often have to download the app or sign up online to opt-in to these features. Some examples include two-way fraud alerts via text message, push notifications on your phone, or large purchase notifications.
  • Report Fraud Right Away: If you lose your credit card, your first call should be to your bank or credit card provider. Advise them that you’ve lost your card, and they’ll enact their fraud prevention measures to prevent anyone from making fraudulent purchases with your credit card. They’ll also send you a replacement credit card, so your life can get back to normal as soon as possible.
  • Monitor Your Credit Score: Did you know that if someone tries to open a new loan account in your name and defaults on it, your credit score will drop? The rise of free credit tools like Credit Keeper from Capital One (available to select Capital One customers) has made it easier than ever to monitor your credit score and ensure that no one is using your personal information for nefarious credit

Those are the big ones, but there are other measures you can take to protect yourself. Capital One Canada has a great resource page and a video packed with information on how to protect your credit card information from fraudsters; it’s worth a read.

The Bottom Line

No one wants their identity stolen. It’s a hassle, it can mess with your credit score for a long time, and it could keep you from achieving major financial milestones like purchasing a house or car. The downside is so huge that you can’t afford not to take Fraud Prevention Month seriously. If you haven’t take the steps above, there has never been a better time to do so.


  1. I always keep my digital information in a seperate hard drive from my computer. Makes it harder to get stolen or hacked into. I also keep a physical print out of my sensitive information in case anything happens to that harddrive.

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