If you are victim of identity theft or identity fraud, you should immediately take some basic steps to prevent further crimes from happening and to restore your credit and good name.
Navigating through the system as a victim can be time-consuming and confusing. This guide should help start you off in the right direction.
Stay calm. Make a list of all the identification information that was lost or stolen. Check your filing cabinet for records of credit card numbers, bank account information and government identification. Create a chart to enter and track the steps taken and the information provided.
As you contact law enforcement, financial institution and other agencies, keep track of the action you've taken for future reference.
Contact both major credit bureaus and let them know you have been a victim of identity fraud:
Request a copy of your credit bureau report – in certain instances, this report may be free of charge. Request that a "Fraud Warning" be placed on your credit file instructing creditors to contact you personally before opening new accounts in your name - these warnings remain on file for 6 years. Remember to contact and file fraud warnings with both bureaus.
Be wary of creditors who have opened accounts that you didn't request, or creditors who have made inquiries on your credit report when you didn't ask for credit. Contact each of these creditors and describe your identity theft case. Ask them to:
Report the theft of your identification information to your local police force. Ensure that you are given a report number and record it for future reference. Banks and creditors sometimes need proof of the crime to erase debts created by identity theft. Please note, it is not the police force's responsibility to recover money you've lost. Their function is to investigate criminal offences and lay charges when appropriate. Suspicious information found on your credit bureau report should be disclosed to the police.
Report the theft or fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center by going to their website or by dialing 1-888-495-8501. The CACF is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on all forms of mass marketing fraud, including advance fee fraud letters (e.g. West African fraud letters), Internet fraud, identity theft complaints and others. The CAFC does not conduct investigations but provides valuable assistance to law enforcement agencies all over the world by identifying connections among seemingly unrelated cases. Your information may provide the piece that completes the puzzle. For more information, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
If you notice suspicious transactions on your credit card or bank statements, immediately contact the creditor or bank and file an Identity Theft Statement. The Identity Theft Statement will help you notify financial institutions, credit card issuers and other companies of your identity theft. It will tell them that you did not create the debt or charges in question and will give them the information they need to begin an investigation. Make as many copies of the Statement as you will need to notify all involved companies. The Identity Theft Statement can be accessed via the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. To print a copy, visit their website.
Call all credit card companies, creditors, banks and other financial institutions where you have accounts that may have been affected. Because it is vital to prevent any additional fraud from occurring, ask these institutions to help you to take the following steps:
If you suspect that someone had your mail re-directed, notify Canada Post. Notify your service provider (telephone, cell phone, electricity, water, gas, etc.) of the identity fraud. Ask that any new requests for service first be confirmed with you.
The department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is responsible for the admission of immigrants, foreign students, visitors and temporary workers who help Canada's social and economic growth.
If your immigration documents have been lost or stolen, or if you suspect that someone is fraudulently using your immigration documents, please contact the CIC.
Toll free: 1-888-242-2100
TTY services: 1-888-576-8502
A Canadian passport is a valuable document that should be kept in a safe place at all times. Once a passport has been reported lost or stolen, it is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel. This ensures that it is not used for fraudulent purposes.
If a passport is lost or stolen, the bearer is required to report the circumstances of the loss or theft to Passport Canada and to the local police. If you are outside Canada, you must report the loss or theft to the nearest Canadian government office abroad.
However, before the document can be replaced, Canadian authorities will conduct an investigation of the circumstances of the loss or theft. This may lead to delays in processing the replacement passport.
Contact Passport Canada:
Toll free: 1-800-567-6868
TTY services: 1-866-255-7655
Outside Canada and the United States: 819-997-8338
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Gatineau QC K1A 0G3
22 de Varennes Street
Gatineau QC J8T 8R1
If you suspect someone is using your Social Insurance Number (SIN) you should visit a Service Canada Centre and bring all necessary documents with you to prove fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also, bring an original identity document (your birth certificate or citizenship document). An official will review your information and provide you with assistance and guidance.
Contact Service Canada:
Toll-Free: 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
Att. Canada Enquiry Centre
If some of your provincial or territorial identity documents have been lost or stolen, or if you believe someone is fraudulently using this information, you should immediately contact the appropriate issuer to advise them of the situation. Provincial and territorial identification documents include your birth certificate, driver's license, health card and more. Information related to provincial and territorial identification card issuers can be found on the following websites:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Toll Free: 310-0000
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-232-7215
Toll Free: 1-800-663-7867
TTY Toll-free: 1-800-661-8773
Toll free: 1-800-661-0408