Over 41 Million Abandoned Online Accounts are Vulnerable to ID Theft and Fraud



    Capital One Canada advises holiday shoppers to be mindful of the personal
    information they share online

    TORONTO, Dec. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - A new survey by Capital One Canada shows
that, while more than two-thirds (69%) of Canadians are concerned about the
safety of their personal information online, Canadian adults have an average
of nine online accounts - from shopping and email to social networking and
dating sites- where they share personal information and potentially increase
their risk of identity theft. The survey also reveals that on average, two of
those online accounts have not been used in the last year, translating into
approximately 41 million inactive accounts.
    "Our survey shows that two out of three people (67%) have not proactively
closed down old online accounts and profiles," said Laurel Ostfield,
spokesperson for Capital One Canada. "Opening an online account requires
personal information such as names, addresses, dates of birth or telephone
numbers. As more and more people shop and communicate online, it's important
for everyone to think about how and where they are sharing this type of
personal information. The more people divulge and leave online, the greater
the potential threat for fraud and identity theft."
    Canadians appear to be neglecting these inactive accounts primarily due
to a lack of awareness or carelessness. For example, twenty-eight (28%) of
online Canadians did not know it was necessary to close an inactive account,
23% forgot about their account all together, and 15% forgot their password.
    The survey also found that nearly three quarters (73%) of Canadians are
concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft, but many are not taking
simple steps to protect themselves. For example:

    
    - 20% of Canadians rarely/never look to see if a website is secure before
      purchasing an item online
    - 72% of Canadians rarely/never review their credit bureau report
    - One in three Canadians (33%) always/sometimes throw debit or credit
      card receipts in the recycling bin
    - 12% of Canadians rarely/never check their credit card statements for
      unexpected or incorrect charges

    "Online commerce is increasingly important to the economy and to
consumers," said Dr. Milena Head, associate dean, McMaster University and a
leading expert on identity theft. "An identity fraudster can obtain someone's
personal information and apply for loans and various other financial products
using this stolen information. Everyone has a role to play in securing
personal information online, including consumers, retailers and governments.
Canadians need to take responsibility by taking the appropriate precautions to
protect their privacy on the Internet."
    To offer an added level of protection, Capital One Canada customers can
sign up for Alerts, a complimentary feature available through Capital One's
Online Banking site. An email or text message is sent immediately if a large
transaction is charged to the customer's card or if the card is being used
outside of Canada.
    Capital One also recommends that Canadians remain vigilant about the
information they share online and take a few key precautions to protect
themselves when shopping on the Internet:

    - Look for signs that a website is safe - Only buy from a seller you
      trust and look for signs that the site is secure, such as a closed
      padlock on the browser's status bar. When you're asked to provide
      payment information, the beginning of the website's URL address should
      change from http to shttp or https, indicating that the purchase is
      encrypted or secured.
    - Don't fall for a false email or pop-up - Never respond to emails or
      instant messages that ask you to provide account information for
      "verification." Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software -
      and keep them up to date - to protect your home computer.
    - Consider how you'll pay - Credit cards generally are a safer option
      because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the
      product isn't delivered or isn't what was ordered.
    - Keep a paper trail - Print and save records of your online
      transactions, including the product description and price, the online
      receipt, and copies of any email you exchange with the seller. Read
      your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there
      aren't any unauthorized charges.
    

    For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft,
visit www.capitalone.ca.

    About the Survey

    These are the findings of a poll conducted by Ipsos Reid, on behalf of
Capital One, from November 3 to November 7, 2008. This online survey of 1049
Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's
national online panel. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a
100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1
percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had the entire adult population of
Canada been polled. For more detailed information about the survey, go to
www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4195.

    About Capital One

    Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a
range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, when the company
first introduced the Platinum MasterCard in Canada. Capital One Canada is a
division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial
Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE:   COF).




For further information:

For further information: Laurel Ostfield, (416) 549-2753,
laurel.ostfield@capitalone.com

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