Fraud Prevention Tips

July 24, 2007


We recently received a call from our credit card provider asking to confirm some recent transactions. This has happened a few times already and the only reason I can think of is that we used the credit card once at Winners last Fall (As you may recall, credit and debit card information was stolen from the parent company of Winners and HomeSense in 2006). Until now, the calls have been a mere annoyance and we were actually responsible for the transactions and the credit card provider was simply twitchy about certain orders made over the Internet.

This time though, someone tried to order discount airline tickets in Europe using our credit card number and the transaction was denied. As soon as I let them know that we did not order those tickets, the provider simply cancelled our card and promised to send new cards. Fortunately, the fraud attempt was already unsuccessful and there was no further action needed on our part. To prevent fraud or worse identity theft, be sure to take at least basic precautions:

  1. Check your credit card and bank statements every month and watch out for suspicious transactions, especially if you shopped at Winners or HomeSense during the period from mid-May to December 2006.
  2. Shred all your receipts and bills that you are throwing away.
  3. Order your credit reports once every year.

More fraud prevention tips, including what to do if you suspect that you are a victim of fraud can be found on the Ottawa Police website.

Change a Light Blub

January 8, 2007


I replaced the two old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in our porch with the energy-saving compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs supplied by Project Porchlight last weekend. Project Porchlight is a campaign by a non-profit organization that aims to deliver one free CFL to every household in Canada. The new lamps are 13 Watts and replace bulbs that were burning 60 Watts and will save us a little bit on our Hydro bills every month. According the Project Porchlight, each CFL bulb saves an estimated $50 over its lifetime in electricity costs.

The bulbs have the added advantage of lasting much longer but the main reason I haven’t replaced the lights in our home is an old one I purchased years ago. It flickers, takes a bit of time to turn on and the light it gives out is dull, but the technology has improved tremendously over the past few years. The bulb turns on quickly and the light is bright, steady and indistinguishable from the old lamp.

If you haven’t tried a CFL lately, you might want to buy one and see if you like it. Like me, you might be pleasantly surprised. You’ll save money and help the environment at the same time.

Avoid Wasting Groceries

November 29, 2006


A post on Sitting Pretty reminded me of an old post on saving on groceries by avoiding wastage. To recap, many studies have shown the American households waste an average of 14% of their food purchases, worth about $590 every year. I am guessing that Canadians waste a similar amount of food and our household was no exception.

I am happy to report that a few simple steps like making a shopping list, planning a menu, shopping for produce once every weekend and just checking the fridge before shopping has drastically cut down the amount of food we used to throw away. It is amazing how when something becomes a habit, we tend to just keep doing it without a second thought.