(NC) March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, a great opportunity to become your own financial-security expert. There are simple steps you can take to do so. For example, make it a habit to read your bank statements each month and to order your free credit report regularly.

The credit report – which you should obtain from credit reporting agencies Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada – is also called your credit file disclosure. It details your credit history, and is a valuable tool you can use to monitor any fraudulent activity involving your accounts.

When you review your credit report, look for anything out of the ordinary, such as an account that you did not open. It could mean fraudsters have created unauthorized accounts in your name by using your personal information to apply for a credit card, mortgage or other loans. If you spot a transaction that you don’t recognize on your bank statement contact your financial institution.

You should also reach out to the credit reporting agencies and ask them to put a fraud alert on your file. That will tell lenders to contact you and confirm your identity before they approve any credit or loan applications.

To correct errors on your credit report, contact the credit reporting agencies and use their forms to update and change the information. Your credit report can be ordered by mail, fax, telephone, online or in person –from both agencies at least once a year. If you choose to access it online, a fee will usually apply.

For more information visit: Understanding your credit report and credit score and you can also visit the fraud section of the FCAC website.