Identity theft: what to do in 6 steps

Identity theft: what to do in 6 steps

Be diligent and quick

The sooner you realize you’re a victim, the easier the clean-up will be. So, the idea is to take immediate action… while remaining calm (sometimes easier said than done).

To keep track of your progress, create a table with all of your personal information and all the steps you’re taking. This will make things simpler to manage.

Your 6-step game plan

Each case of identity theft is unique. Even though most of them are financial in nature, your game plan will be determined by the personal information that was stolen.

Don’t take ID theft lightly; it’s best to contact and alert as many authorities as possible.

1. Alert the police

The police will take your sworn deposition and launch an investigation. Ask for the case number. Use it to prove to the banks and creditors that a crime was committed, and it will help you contest any fraudulent transactions.

Write this number on all the documents that you’ll be asked to fill out.

2. Contact your creditors

Identify any and all dubious transactions in your personal accounts (bank account, credit card, mortgage, investment account, credit line, etc.).

Failure to do so could result in being held accountable for these transactions. You may even be asked to affirm these dubious transactions under oath.

If a creditor asks you to pay for fraudulent transactions, send them a copy of your case file to prove that you’re a victim of identity theft. For example, if a fraudster used your personal information with the wrong driver’s licence number, you can prove that the financing was obtained fraudulently.

If fraudsters usurp your banking and financial information, ask your creditors to cancel your cards and issue new ones.

Close all bank accounts that you didn’t open and loans you never requested.

Pay close attention to stolen cheques, payments made by cheque or pre-authorized payments.

Bank and credit cards used for online purchases become linked to your email, so be sure to change your passwords, PINs and the secret questions used on social media and transactional websites.

Caroline Le Dû, Fraud Detection and Prevention Lawyer at Assistel, says:

”Unfortunately, no one is immune to identity theft. However, there is one simple trick that anyone can do to limit the fraudulent use of their personal information: add a fraud alert to their credit report. That way, all creditors will be forced to contact them before authorizing any request for financing. The disadvantages that this situation can create are nothing compared to the devastation caused by identity theft. Ask for a copy of your credit file at least once a year to make sure nothing unusual occurred. Better safe than sorry!”

3. Check your credit file

Notify Equifax and TransUnion that you’re a victim of identity theft. Ask them to indicate in your credit file that creditors must call you before opening any account in your name (a.k.a. fraud alert).

Request a paper copy of your credit file because it could reveal where the fraudsters struck using your stolen identity.

You can also use this opportunity to ask these credit rating agencies to remove any incorrect information from your credit file.

4. Fill out the Identity Theft Declaration Form

To quickly notify companies and organizations of your identity theft, complete an Identity Theft Statement (PDF, 28 kB). This form is recognized by most of them (except government agencies). This will save you time! Be sure to send it by registered mail.

5. Submit a complaint to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Informing the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) that you’re the victim of identity theft will help fight this type of fraud. You can also rely on the CAFC for advice and support. You can also call this federal agency to report fraudulent telephone calls or emails or if you’re a victim of a phishing scam.

6. Call everybody

You must call all the companies with which your identity thief used your personal information, other than those of a financial nature.

Ask them to investigate and cancel all the transactions that you’re not responsible for. As a victim of identity theft, you will be informed of the steps to take as well as the information these companies require. Here, the policy case number is your best ally.

Lost or stolen card or document Who to call
Birth certificate Directeur de l’état civil
Driver’s licence Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)
Health insurance card Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec
Income taxes
Mail Canada Post
Licence plate number SAAQ
Passport Passeport Canada
Social insurance number Service Canada will not replace your card. To request a new social insurance number (SIN), you must prove that yours was used fraudulently.
Welfaire benefits Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale
Quebec Pension Plan and Child Assistance Retraite Québec

What if your insurer can help?

More and more insurers are adding an assistance program in case of fraud and identity theft to their policies.

If your insurer does, don’t hesitate to use their services.

Find out more

For more information on how to protect your personal information or submit a complaint to an organization concerning the preservation and use of your personal information, contact the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec (French only).

Note: This blog post is provided for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional legal, financial or fiscal advice. For advice specific to your personal situation, always speak with your advisor. SSQ cannot be held responsible for any decision made as a result of reading this blog post.