Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

March 03, 2009 11:11 ET

March is Fraud Awareness Month

FCAC reminds consumers to monitor their personal finances closely and to order a copy of their credit report

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2009) - When it comes to making you part with your money, fraudsters will use every trick at their disposal. During Fraud Awareness Month - the month of March - the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reminds Canadians to monitor their personal finances diligently and to order a copy of their credit report.

"Fraud can take many forms and can happen to anyone, even to the most cautious consumer," said FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. "You may not even realize you have become a victim until it is too late. However, if you monitor your personal finances closely and order your credit report once a year, you will be taking the first steps to protecting yourself against financial fraud."

FCAC reminds consumers to check their bank and credit card statements carefully, on a regular basis. This way, they will be better able to notice discrepancies in their personal finances and to quickly report any irregularities to their bank or the authorities.

"Reviewing your monthly statements is not only a smart accounting practice, helping you track your expenses against your revenues, but you may be surprised to discover that someone has been making regular withdrawals from your bank account or charging small amounts on your credit card without you noticing it before. Look for stores where you never shop or for any transactions you do not recall making. A way to verify these is to keep receipts from bank machines and credit card transactions and compare them with your monthly statements," explained Commissioner Menke.

"It is also important for consumers to order a copy their credit report from all three of Canada's credit-reporting agencies every year, to check for signs of identity theft. It is important to review the report provided by all three agencies - TransUnion, Equifax and Experian - because they do not collect the same information. If you notice an error in your credit report, call your financial institution and the agencies immediately, and have the error corrected to prevent problems in the future, added Commissioner Menke."

FCAC's booklet Understanding your Credit Report and Credit Score tells consumers how they can obtain their credit report free of charge, by mail, from the credit bureaus. This publication also helps consumers understand the information in a credit report and explains how to get any errors corrected that may show up on the report. In addition, the free booklet provides tips on how to improve a low credit score. FCAC also publishes four useful tip sheets on how to prevent and protect yourself from identity theft, credit card fraud, and fraudulent e-mails and phone calls, as well as how to protect your debit card and personal identification number (PIN). You can view or download FCAC's publication and tip sheets from its Web site at moneytools.ca.

FCAC provides consumers with accurate, objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions. FCAC also ensures compliance with consumer protection laws and monitors codes of conduct and public commitments that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies.

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