Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And I’ve been fooled before: a victim of credit card fraud, over $12,000 was charged to my account in just over six hours. I found out in the most inconvenient fashion; while exiting a parking garage after a rare romantic dinner with my husband, both our credit cards were declined at the checkpoint. Confused and frustrated – though lucky to have carried some cash that day – we arrived home to find two voice messages from VISA, asking us to call their fraud centre immediately.
So, we knew one of our credit cards had been compromised. However, thanks to insurance and card-user safeguards, we wouldn’t be responsible for the fraudulent charges. Still, we were impacted in the following ways:
1) My credit card was immediately cancelled, which meant that for this shopaholic, I had to wait up to 10 business days before a replacement would arrive. As I had holiday shopping to complete, it was highly frustrating.
2) A new card meant a new card number – which required several phone calls to creditors who auto-charge my card monthly. Between the insurance company, the cable company, utilities and various charitable organizations, I reckon I spent hours getting everything updated in their systems.
3) That feeling of being victimized. So, someone got a hold of my financial details and someone went on a shopping spree in San Francisco. But who? And more importantly, HOW?
The truth is, I have no idea how my credit card was compromised. But I immediately realized that there were steps I could take to prevent fraudulent activity; everything from safeguarding my PIN to ensuring that I don’t give thieves access to my personal and banking information – especially via documents that have been carelessly thrown away. Think about it – when was the last time you tossed a credit card statement in the trash? You could have tossed a thief everything he needs to steal your identification.
March is Fraud Prevention Month. According to Sylvain Patry, senior vice president of ProtectionPower.ca and identity theft expert, “shredding documents isn’t just for businesses and people with something to hide. Canadian households are full of documents that contain potentially compromising information.”
Top 10 Documents You Should be Shredding:
1. Monthly Credit Card Statements
2. Employment Paystubs – If you receive pay stubs on a weekly basis or otherwise, you should keep them only until you receive your annual wage and tax statement.
3. Personal Income Tax Reports – You should hold onto these (in a safe place) for five years. However, after five years, it is important that they be shredded.
4. Monthly Utility Bills – This includes anything from hydro bills to cable bills.
5. Spam Mail – Any document you receive by regular mail, including sign-up forms for a new credit card, a magazine subscription, or any other document that contains your personal information, such as your name, home address, phone number, etc.
6. Federal, Provincial or Municipal Government Documents – Examples of this would be your health card, driver’s licence or passport renewal notices, or even a confirmation letter of your children’s school registration for the new school year.
7. Express Mail Documents – Generally invoices or a confirmation of delivery that accompany a letter or package that was delivered to you by UPS, FedEx, or Canada Post Express – even the labels on delivery boxes or envelopes.
8. Membership Notices – If you are a member of any organization, such as a tennis club, fitness club, library, etc., be sure to shred all membership renewal notices and documents accompanying the delivery of membership cards, credit cards, store cards, etc.
9. Banking Documents – This includes bank statements, used bank account booklets, old unused checks, etc…
10. Miscellaneous Documents – Any other documents you receive or possess that contain usernames and passwords.
I’m pleased to partner with Fellowes Canada, the global leader in paper shredder design and engineering, providing the highest quality personal and general office business shredders on the market. With their innovative “Jam Blocker” technology and Energy Savings System, they’ve earned a reputation as the “World’s Toughest Shredders”.
In celebration of Fraud Prevention Month, I’ll be strategically disposing of personal records and information using the Fellowes Powershred 63cb Cross-Cut Shredder. Features:
– Jam Blocker blocks jams before they start
– SafeSense Technology stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening
– Energy Savings System provides optimal energy efficiency 100% of the time – in use and out of use
– Shreds 10 sheets per pass into 5/32”x 2” cross-cut particles (Security Level 3)
– Shreds for up to 8 minutes before a 20 minute cool down period
– One year product warranty and five year cutter warranty
Let me go on record saying this: every home needs a shredder. And Fellowes makes it easy and affordable to safely dispose of all your personal records, thereby reducing the chances of being a victim of identity theft. For the last week, we’ve subjected the shredder to a whole year’s worth of statements and receipts. I’ve shredded old credit cards. I’ve shredded documents with staples and paper clips. I’ve even shredded CDs – yes, CDs!
The Fellowes Powershred 63cb Cross-Cut Shredder operates relatively quietly and is a workhorse when it comes to shredding through statements. We’ve logged hours of use and haven’t encountered a single paper jam yet! Best news: the shredder is currently on sale at Staples Canada for $169.99. Now wouldn’t this be the perfect addition to your home office?
Also, be sure to like Fellowes Canada on Facebook to gain access to a great variety of ID Theft Prevention Resources, including an ID Theft Prevention Kit, Travel Tips, What To Do if You’re a Victim and more.
*Mark Your Calendars* for the #FellowesProtects Twitter Party: Wednesday, March 26th at 9pm EST.
This month, make fraud prevention your priority. One lucky reader will win a Fellowes Powershred 63cb Cross-Cut Shredder valued at $189.99. To enter, simply fill the form below with your qualifying entries. Good luck everyone!