A frightening example of just how easy it is for someone to take your name, your credit, and a good chunk of your financial future, and put it all at risk:
You should probably buy a shredder today.
I get a heck of a lot of credit card applications in the mail. A bunch for Visa, quite a few from Mastercard and tons of them from American Express.
Being a multi-thousandaire, I prefer private banking. I almost always tear credit card applications in half and throw them away.
Sometimes, if I am feeling particularly paranoid, I’ll tear them into little bitty pieces.
Is that good enough? Could a determined and dexterous criminal gather all the bits, tape them together and apply for a credit card in my name? Would a credit card company balk when confronted with an obviously resurrected application?
A test was in order, and when the latest application arrived from Chase Mastercard, I was equal to the task.
If you haven’t checked your credit score and history in a while (or ever), go to Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada to order one. They are typically free over the mail, or you can view it online instantly, often for a small charge. Do NOT waste your time and money with any of the late-night-infomercial or junk mail credit score offers; Equifax and TransUnion are both legitimate, recognized by the Canadian Government, and most importantly: free to use.
It is a good habit to check your credit report every 3 years, before applying for any major credit (mortgage, business loan, vehicle financing) or whenever you think there is something out of the ordinary (strange charges appearing, phone calls from collectors representing companies you don’t use). If you aren’t sure what your credit report means, or you need to talk to someone about ways to improve your score, give us a call and one of our advisors can sit down with you, go over your financial situation, and help you build a strategy to keep that score as healthy as possible.
But don’t forget to buy that shredder.