RCMP urging shoppers to beware

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Ottawa – With the busiest retail season of the year now in full swing, the RCMP are urging holiday shoppers to be on their guard for ID fraud. The increase in financial transactions during the month of December carries with it an increased opportunity for criminals to commit credit and debit card fraud. RCMP are offering holiday shoppers the following list of holiday shopping precautions:

Tips for shopping in person

  • Even though you will be rushed and thinking about a thousand things, try to remain alert to your surroundings.
  • When paying with a credit or debit card, never lose sight of your card. Whenever possible, swipe your card yourself rather than giving it to the cashier.
  • Always shield your PIN when entering it. Don’t be embarrassed – you’re not insulting anyone.
  • Do not keep a written record of your bank PIN or your social insurance number in your wallet or hand bag.
  • If you suspect anything unusual when using a point-of-sale terminal (pin pad) or an ATM, do not use the machine and report it immediately to the police or the financial institution.

Shopping on-line

  • Shop only from your home computer and equip it with the latest web browser. Using your home computer is much safer than shopping at a terminal in an internet café or library.
  • If you plan to buy something, go directly to a store’s website by manually typing its address into your web browser. Don’t click on links in an e-mail message even if you know who sent it.
  • Verify secure connections. When shopping on-line, do not enter any financial information if you see a broken-key or open padlock symbol on your Internet browser. This means the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party. When the key is complete or the padlock is locked, your browser is indicating a secure transaction.
  • Consider using a reliable third-party payment company such as PayPal, a credit card with a low credit limit or a single-use payment card.
  • Unlike secure order forms on a web site, e-mail messages are not private. Do not send confidential personal or financial information by e-mail.
  • When browsing auction sites or unauthorized retail websites, be cautious of drastic sale prices on sought-after designer items and popular electronics. The legitimate goods are rarely discounted.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card and statements on-line. Electronic statements allow you to review your purchases and payments as they happen rather than waiting until the end of the month to review your paper statement. Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank or to the company that issued the credit card.

Other helpful tips

  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery and do not leave pieces of mail lying around your residence or office.
  • Shred or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit card applications, credit card receipts, bills and any documents containing personal information when they’re no longer needed.
  • Do not provide personal information such as your SIN, date of birth, credit card numbers, or PIN over the telephone or via e-mail. There are more secure methods for providing this valuable information when it is legitimately required.
  • Avoid mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions. Criminals involved in this type of scam typically offer you an instant prize or an award for the purpose of obtaining personal information, such as your credit card numbers.

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The Morinville News is an online daily and bi-weekly print publication serving Morinville and surrounding area. Our print publication is distributed on the first, third and fifth Wednesday. You can also follow us online on Twitter @MorinvilleNews and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MorinvilleNews

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