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Identity theft

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What can I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

If you find that someone has used your identity, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible.

Report the identity theft to the police

Ask for a copy of the police report. Give copies of it to your financial institutions, credit card issuers, the credit reporting agencies, and any other companies that you speak to about the identity theft.

Contact the financial institutions, credit card issuers, or companies that are involved

Tell them about the identity theft. You may need to change your account numbers, your PINs, and get new debit and credit cards. Ask the staff at your bank what else you can do to stop the thief from using your bank accounts and credit cards.

Even if the identity thieves cannot be found, you may have some protection against unauthorized withdrawals from your bank accounts and unauthorized charges to your credit card. But your bank will want to be sure that you are actually a victim and that you are not working with the thief. When you report the identity theft to as many agencies as possible, you show that you are serious about finding the thieves.

Report the identity theft to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC)

The CAFC gathers information about identity theft and provides advice and assistance to victims. For more information, call 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

Cancel any missing identification

If government-issued documents like your driver's licence, passport, birth certificate, or health card have been lost or stolen, you must cancel them right away and get new ones as soon as possible. For help with this process, call ServiceOntario at 416-326-1234 or toll-free at 1-800-267-8097.

Contact Equifax and TransUnion

Equifax and TransUnion are the two main credit reporting agencies in Canada. Ask each of them for a copy of your credit report. They must send you a free copy of your report in the mail if you ask them to.

Review your credit reports to see if the thief opened any accounts or incurred debt in your name.

Tell Equifax and TransUnion that you want to dispute the debt. Also ask them if you should have a "fraud alert" placed in your file. With fraud alert, creditors have to call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts.

You can contact Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 or www.equifax.ca.

You can contact TransUnion at 1-800-663-9980 or www.transunion.ca.