NEW YEAR, FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS - 7 TIPS TO HELP CONSUMERS STAY ALERT AND START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT

MONTREAL, Jan. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - It might be tough, but the start of a new year is an ideal time to take a good hard look at your finances and plan for the months ahead. Getting a handle on your finances and spending habits is an important step towards identity theft prevention.

ProtectionPower.ca, which offers identity theft protection resources and services, including proactive identity monitoring, has published a list of tips to help costumers stay alert and start the New Year right.

"Given the huge toll identity theft can take, in terms of stress, lost time and money, it is vital for consumers to take basic, simple steps to protect themselves," explains Sylvain Patry, senior vice-president of ProtectionPower.ca and an expert in protecting against identity theft.

7 Tips to start the New Year right

  1. Request your credit report. Request your credit report from the two credit reporting bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. This will give you an honest picture of your credit history and health, and a chance to see your credit profile the way potential lenders will see it.

  2. Examine your credit report for suspicious activity that may indicate your accounts have been compromised. You should look at your credit report at least once a year; many financial experts recommend doing it much more often.

  3. Correct errors in your credit report. Don't start the year with inaccuracies on your credit report. Even if it's just a wrong address or a misspelled name, it's important your credit report is correct. If you spot any errors, touch base with the credit reporting bureau right away.

  4. Clean out your wallet. Don't carry more cards around with you than you need. This makes it easier to deal with a wallet/purse theft or loss; the less information the thief has, the harder it is for him to assume your identity.

  5. Resolve to look carefully at every bank and credit card statement. This will bring you face-to-face with your spending habits. Watch, as well, for any purchases that aren't yours - a sure sign of identity theft.

  6. Resolve to pay all bills on time. This is one of the best things you can do to improve you credit score - plus, you'll avoid paying those nasty interest fees! Stay on top of your bills and you'll also notice if they don't show up, which could be a sign of identity theft. If your bills don't appear when you expect them to, call your utility company right away.

  7. Keep a budget. Start 2011 with a project: record everything you spend in January. At the end of the month, take a good look at your habits. Where could you trim a little? Make a list of small goals and try to meet one a month. Be aware of the money coming in to and going out of your accounts. This will help you stay in control of your financial health - and help you quickly identify any suspicious activity.

For more tips and tools to help you protect yourself from identity theft, visit ProtectionPower.ca.

About ProtectionPower.ca

ProtectionPower.ca is a leading Canadian provider of advanced identity protection services and educational resources. Founded by a team of security experts with a background in credit/financial services and technology, Protection Power.ca provides the features and experience you need to stay in control of your financial life.

SOURCE PROTECTIONPOWER.CA

For further information:

Ana Marinescu
514 843-2327
Cell: 514 501-0262
amarinescu@national.ca

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