Credit Protection Measures for ID Theft Victims
29 October 2015
If you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft, don’t panic! Caught soon enough, there are credit protection measures you can take to block identity thieves from inflicting lasting damage on your credit accounts.
If you have already signed up for a credit monitoring service, you may receive notifications if the service detects certain activity that may indicate fraud on your credit report. Whether you get an alert from your credit monitoring company or become aware of the activity some other way, call the fraud department of the company where you believe the fraud occurred as soon as possible. You can ask them to freeze your account so that no one may make new charges unless you agree. Once your account has been frozen, it is a good practice to change your login credentials, including password and PIN for any affected accounts to protect your information going forward.
Then, contact one of the two credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax or TransUnion, and place a fraud alert on your account. If one bureau is contacted it is required to tell the other. A fraud alert will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. You should receive a letter from each credit bureau confirming that it placed a fraud alert on your file.
If you haven’t already accessed your free credit report for the year, this is an ideal time to check your credit file and make note of any accounts or lines of credit you don’t recognize. If you are signed up for a credit monitoring service, it may already have this information available for you. These notes will help you file an accurate fraud report.
For confirmed instances of fraud, report the incident to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. In addition, we recommend reporting the theft to your local law enforcement agency.
For future credit protection, sign up for a credit monitoring service. Companies like Identity Guard regularly review your credit file and can alert you to certain activity that may indicate fraud, giving you a jump on protecting and repairing your credit health after a breach.