How to protect yourself from identity and credit card theft

In the age of online banking, password vaults and Apple Pay, it’s tempting to think that your personal information is secure, but identity and credit card theft are still affecting millions of Canadians every year. Follow these tips to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.


  1. Destroy hardcopy documentation before disposing of it by shredding or burning it in a fireplace. This includes anything that lists your address, and especially documents that can contain further information like birth dates and phone numbers, such as utility bills, prescriptions, and receipts.
  2. Practice safe browsing - never make online purchases on unsecured or public networks, for example at a coffee shop or at the library.                                                                                       
  3. If you need to use a public computer to access your email or social media profiles, clear the browser history, including cookies and saved passwords before you end the session.
  4. Check your financial transactions records regularly for unexpected purchases and vendors and get in touch with your credit card provider immediately if you notice something amiss.
  5. Don’t share passwords or login information for your banking institutions with any third parties, including online budgeting tools. In fact, this is often a violation of your service agreement and can result in claims of fraudulent activity being denied.
  6. Don’t click suspicious links in your emails. Most email providers are getting smart about recognizing spam and routing it away from your inbox, but it still pays to be vigilant by checking the email address of the sender and researching any that don’t look trustworthy. Sophisticated phishing scams can fool even the most seasoned internet users.
  7. Check for tampering on any card reading device such as an ATM or the card reader at the corner store or the gas pump. Card skimming devices can be fitted over the existing card reader, often without the knowledge of the vendor in question. Look for loose parts and evidence of tampering, such as scratch marks.
  8. The information contained on the chip of a credit or bank card can be stolen without your knowledge. A fraudster equipped with an RFID reader can capture your information in seconds just by standing beside you. Purchasing a protective card case can help to protect you.
  9. Last but not least, always protect your PIN when using a credit or bank card in public.


For more information, visit the website of Canadian Bankers Association.


The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.