Security Breach

The recent security breach at Equifax may have you asking, “Is my personal information safe anywhere?” Unfortunately, if you were among those affected, the Equifax deed is done.

Equifax says it’s still investigating the effect on Canadians. And though U.S. consumers can put a credit freeze in place, that’s not yet available for Canadian residents.

Here’s what to do. First, know the subtle signs of identity theft. According to TransUnion (http://bit.ly/2x9HXQN), these are a few indications that you may have been victimized.

  1. You receive calls or letters stating that you’ve been approved or denied by a creditor to which you never applied.
  2. You’re not getting credit card statements, or you notice that not all of your mail is being delivered to you.
  3. Your credit card statement includes odd purchases that you don’t recognize.
  4. A collection agency tells you they are collecting for an account that you never opened.

If you think you’ve been a victim, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (http://bit.ly/188tIen) suggests you:

  • File a report with your local police.
  • Contact your bank, financial institutions and credit card company
  • Report identity theft and fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (http://bit.ly/1S7XGRH)
  • Contact the two national credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Equifax Canada (http://bit.ly/2x8DA8o) ,800-465-7166
  • TransUnion Canada, (http://bit.ly/2k3ptLU) 877-525-3823

 Bringing the Joys of Technology to Seniors

You may recall the movie Cyber-Seniors (see the trailer at http://bit.ly/1oz4dFX), a documentary about residents of a Toronto retirement community learning to use computers for the first time.

The film captures the challenges, successes, and humor that seniors and teenage mentors experience as the teens teach computer basics and the seniors discover YouTube, Facebook, and Skype.

It also illustrates how such mentoring programs have the power to minimize digital and generational gulfs.

Saffron Cassaday, the filmmaker, had hoped to find ways to continue introducing seniors to the freedom and joys of technology.

And now she has.

The new CyberSeniors site features resources and how-to guides (http://bit.ly/2hdhgAj) for starting a program in your community.

It also offers a membership option that provides greater resources like a mentor training program, resources for educators to include in their curriculum, and a planning guide on hosting outreach events.

Safe Post-Flood Clean-Up

Maybe you’ve watched with horror the people facing flood damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It’s a good opportunity to review how to stay safe during any kind of flood clean-up.

Here are six tips from the Environmental Protection Agency (http://bit.ly/2s5yTKi) and the Red Cross (http://rdcrss.org/S1KeVX) for getting your house back to normal.

  1. Gear. Limit your exposure to airborne mold by wearing an N-95 respirator. Also wear gloves, goggles, and rubber boots as you clean up. You want to avoid contact with flood water, which could be contaminated.
  2. Power safety. Turn off the main electrical power and water systems until you or a professional are certain that they’re safe. Never turn the power on or off or use electrical tools or appliances while you’re standing in water.
  3. Carbon monoxide. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside the house or garage or outside near an open window or door.
  4. Building materials. Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
  5. Toss it. Any food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud should be thrown out, even sealed canned goods. Also throw out items—stuffed toys, mattresses, carpet, and pillows–that absorb water and can’t be cleaned or disinfected.
  6. Clothing. Wash all the clothes you wear during the clean-up in hot water and detergent. Also, wash them separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.