“What is identity theft? What is identity fraud? Why should you be aware of this? What should you do if this has happened to you?”
Identity theft is when someone steals your identity. Identity fraud is when someone uses your identity to commit fraud or illegally deceive someone.
We live in a world where our lives are in a digital online world. With COVID, this online world has grown significantly for many who were previously not online as much. This also means that fraudsters and scammers are getting smarter and finding more ways to get our sensitive information. Even CRA has been hacked. Given that we aren’t moving backwards as a society, it’s important we protect our personal information because there are things like our date of birth which can’t be changed like our bank account or credit card number.
If you become a victim of identity theft, you should consider doing the following:
- Phone Equifax 1.800.465.7166 and TransUnion 1.800.663.9980 for them to put a fraud alert on your account. This will trigger additional questions with anyone who pulls your credit report. Yes, it means more work for you when credit is being checked but it also ensures that no one is getting credit or anything else in your name.
- Report the identity theft online with the Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Notify your financial professionals. Based on the information stolen, you may need to consider closing current bank accounts and opening new ones. Same with credit cards.
- Updating all passwords and ensuring they include both numbers, upper and lower case letters, special characters, etc.
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***This blog is for information only and not to be used as tax advice or planning without first seeking professional advice. Information is subject to change without notice.