Will your client’s cash-flow plan hold up during the holiday buying frenzy?

An impressive two-thirds of Canadians (66%) say they prepare a budget for holiday shopping, reveals a survey by Equifax Canada. But planning that budget and sticking to it may be two different things — especially if clients are filling orders for Santa. Households with children under 18 are more likely to carry their highest credit-card debt during the holidays (39%), and more than a quarter regret holiday purchases after receiving their credit card bills (27%).

Read: Worst financial mistakes and how to avoid them

Holiday shoppers also feel vulnerable to identity theft (64%), a 10% increase from last year. In a release, John Russo, Equifax Canada’s chief privacy officer, says fraudsters and identity thieves are more active this time of year, but the risk extends beyond purchase transactions. Clients should be aware of the potential for fraudulent credit card applications in their names, as well as redirected mail.

“Fraudsters can do massive damage to a person’s credit reputation and financial well-being in a short amount of time, which can in turn take […] a long time to clean up. That is why we encourage people to be vigilant and check their credit reports regularly,” says Russo.

Read: 5 actions to reduce fraud risk

Although 72% of Canadians report they must do more to protect their personal information, only 28% check their credit reports and only 43% update passwords. Instead, they opt to share less on social media (87%) and use anti-virus products (81%).

Find information for clients on budgets and identity fraud from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Also read: Canadians pile up non-mortgage debt, says report