Fear of Identity Theft Making Canadians Wary to Shop Online this Holiday Season

    Hectic season can mean increased risk; Capital One offers tips to make
    sure consumers are protected

    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Capital One's third annual identity theft
survey reveals that the majority of Canadians (72 percent) continue to be
concerned about identity theft and these concerns are impacting how they shop
- particularly online. According to the survey, one third (33 percent) of
Canadians said they don't make purchases online and more than half
(56 percent) have either not completed or even backed out of an online
purchase because of concerns about security and identity theft.
    "The holiday season is a hectic time for everyone and being diligent
about protecting yourself from identify theft isn't always at the top of the
'to-do' list. Unfortunately, this makes consumers even more vulnerable to
becoming a victim of identity theft, whether they are shopping online or in
the stores," said Pam Girardo of Capital One Canada. "What most people don't
realize is that if become are a victim, it can take a considerable amount of
time and effort to clear up credit records and repair the financial damage
caused by the crime."
    Despite growing awareness of these crimes, only 36 percent of Canadians
say they are well informed about how to protect themselves from identity
theft, and one third (33 percent) say they know someone personally who has
been a victim. Nearly one-third of Canadians (31 percent) say that while they
hear a lot about identify theft, they are not sure what it means.
    Knowing what to do in the event your identity is stolen is also
critically important. While sixty-two percent (62 percent) of Canadians
thought they would know what to do to protect themselves and restore their
credit, further questioning revealed some significant knowledge gaps:

    - Nearly two-thirds of Canadians (65 percent) do not review their credit
      report annually. Reviewing your report for errors is the best way to
      catch identity theft early.

    - Over half of Canadians (52 percent) believed that they only had to
      alert one of the two national credit bureaus about an identity theft
      incident. In fact, consumers must contact both of the bureaus to file a

    - One third of Canadians (33 percent) thought that they did not need to
      alert the police so long as they made a report to the credit bureaus.
      Identity theft is a crime and the police need to be informed.

    "There are certain red flags that we look out for as a financial
institution to help protect our customers from identity theft, but it's
equally important that we arm consumers with information to help them minimize
their risk," says Pam Girardo of Capital One. "Carefully reviewing bills and
credit reports for errors and shredding important documents are just a few of
the simple steps that consumers can - and should - take to help protect
themselves from these crimes."

    Capital One offers the following tips to protect consumers from identity
    theft this holiday season:

    - Protect your credit card using simple measures such as signing the back
      of the card, placing passwords on new or existing accounts and being
      vigilant when purchases are being processed.

    - Safeguard your personal information - do not share or disclose your PIN
      number(s), hold your mail if away from home on travel, and secure your
      belongings (purses/wallets) in public places.

    - Streamline your wallet - Before you head to the malls, clean out your
      wallet and take only the credit cards, checks and/or cash that you need
      for the day.

    - Hold on to your receipts - Keep receipts with you rather than putting
      it in the bag- and get gift receipts that can be used for returns or
      exchanges. Keep the originals in a safe place and shred them after
      you're certain the charges match to those on monthly bank and credit
      card statements.

    When shopping online:

    - Look for signs that a Web site 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 Web site'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.

    Five key steps to take immediately if you are a victim:

    1. Call the two national credit bureaus and request that a fraud warning
       or alert be placed on your credit file and request copies of your
       credit report for review. TransUnion Canada can be reached at
       1.877.525.3823 and 1-877-713.3393 in Québec; Equifax Canada can be
       reached at 1.877.323.2598.

    2. File a police report and request a copy of the report or case number.
       Banks and creditors often need proof of a crime to erase debts created
       by identity theft.

    3. Contact all creditors to alert them of your situation so that new
       accounts are not approved or opened in your name by impostors.

    4. Protect your bank accounts by cancelling ABM cards that are
       compromised in any way, requesting stop payments on stolen cheques and
       adding a password to accounts.

    5. Contact PhoneBusters National Call Centre (1-888-495.8501) to report
       the crime.

    For more information and resources on identity theft and to download the
Identity Theft Guide for Victims please visit Capital One's web site at

    Survey Methodology

    The Ipsos Reid survey was conducted from December 11th to 13th , 2007.
For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,000 adult
Canadians was interviewed by telephone. Margin of error is +/-3.02 percent.

    About Capital One

    Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a
range of competitive MasterCard(R) credit cards since 1996, when the company
first introduced the Platinum MasterCard(R) 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: Pam Girardo, Capital One, (416) 549-2783,

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