Canadian Credit Bureaus — Providing Valuable Data in the Fight Against Fraud?

29 October 2015

Every Canadian who has ever applied for a line of credit, a mortgage or an auto loan has a credit history in his or her name. Over time this history grows to include information about each credit account and payment a person has ever made, painting a picture lenders use to determine the credit-worthiness of new applicants.

While banks use credit reports to evaluate the risk new borrowers might pose, consumers also stand to benefit from regularly reviewing their own credit reports. Because credit reports contain specific data on all of a person’s accounts, it serves as the perfect place to check for certain activity that may indicate credit fraud. Regularly checking for this type of activity is crucial so that consumers can identify problems and take steps to correct them before an identity thief has the chance to financially ruin them.

In Canada, there are two credit bureaus that collect and organize credit data: Equifax and TransUnion. While each Canadian credit bureau reports on each person’s credit history, they collect slightly different sets of data. One reason for this inconsistency is that reporting is expensive and completely voluntary, so small banks and credit unions may try to save themselves money by not reporting to both credit bureaus. This discrepancy means that one report could show a sign that a consumer has been a victim of credit fraud while the other does not, making reviewing both reports, rather than just one, absolutely critical.

Credit monitoring can help consumers identify fraud as soon as possible. Services that monitor credit files can notify consumers of certain changes in their files that could indicate fraud. These alerts allow consumers to take immediate action, such as freezing their credit, to quickly negate the effects of identity theft. Sign up for a credit monitoring service today to take charge of your credit security!