TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 8, 2013) -

Editors' Note: An image is associated with this press release.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, an international effort to educate consumers about cybercrime, and the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) is reminding Canadians about what banks are doing to enhance cyber security and encouraging Canadians to bank safe and foil the fraudsters.

Banks have extensive security measures in place to protect their customers from fraudulent activity in their bank and credit card accounts, including monitoring transactions looking for unusual activity, verification questions to ensure that it is the customer using online banking, and moving to more secure chip and PIN (personal identification number) debit and credit cards. These efforts have been able to prevent criminal activity and help Canadians safely do their banking and pay for purchases.

"There are also important and simple steps that customers need to take to prevent fraud, and one of the most important things is to choose secure PINs and passwords," said Maura Drew-Lytle, Director of Communications at the Canadian Bankers Association. "This is a requirement set out in your banking agreements and if customers have taken the appropriate steps, then they will be protected from fraud losses by the banks' zero liability policies."

Tips on choosing secure online passwords and PINs

Each bank will have its own requirements about choosing secure passwords and PINs, so it is best to check with your bank's online access agreement, bank account agreement or credit cardholder agreements, but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

When choosing online passwords, verification questions and credit and debit card PINs, avoid choosing something that would be easy to guess or information that could be obtained by others. You must not use:

- Your name or that of a close relative

- Your birth date, year of birth, telephone number or address, or that of a close relative

- Your bank account, debit card or credit card number

- A number on any other identification that you keep with your debit and credit cards in your wallet, such as a driver's licence or social insurance number

- A password or PIN used for other purposes

Other secure banking tips

- Never share your debit or credit cards, PINs and passwords with others, not even family members.

- Shield your PIN when entering it. Don't write it down, memorize it.

- Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

- Always check your monthly bank and credit card statements, or check your accounts online regularly. Make sure all the transactions are yours.

- Never give out your card number over the phone or Internet unless you are dealing with a reputable company. The only time you should give it is when you have called to place an order.

- Protect your home computer - make sure that you install anti-virus, anti-spyware and Internet firewall tools purchased from trusted retailers or suppliers. Keep these programs enabled and continuously updated to protect your devices against malicious software.

Information on choosing secure PINs and passwords is outlined in the account and cardholder agreements and electronic banking agreements. These documents are provided to customers when they open a bank or credit card account or when they sign up for online banking. They are also readily available on request at bank branches or on bank websites. It is very important that customers read and understand these agreements before choosing their PINs and passwords.

To find out more about frauds and scams, how banks protect customers and how customers can protect themselves, sign up to receive the CBA's fraud prevention tips by e-mail at

About the Canadian Bankers Association

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 57 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 275,000 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions and works with banks and law enforcement to help protect customers against financial crime and promote fraud awareness.

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Contact Information:

Kate Payne
Media Relations Specialist
(416) 362-6093, ext. 219
Cell: (416) 587-7733