Recovery

What to do if you become a victim of identity theft, consumers: 

  • Inform the fraud departments at the two primary Canadian credit bureaus. Equifax(www.equifax.ca/): (877) 323-2598, for lost or stolen identification press 1, if you are a victim of identity theft press 2. Trans Union (www.tuc.ca/): (877) 525-3823, Quebec (877) 713-3393. Ask them to put a “Fraud Alert” on your files, request copies of credit reports, and ask for their process for you to initiate an identity theft investigation. Each company may be different. Make sure to note your reference number here as well.
  • Contact your legitimate creditors, phone company, and other financial institutions to report the identity theft and inquire about your accounts. Record who you talked to at each, and note a reference number if they have one.
  • Contact any creditors and financial institutions with false accounts in your name (you can find this information on your credit report.) and close the accounts. Ask them to put a “Fraud Alert” on your file as well. Follow up by filling out an Identity Theft Statement to send them. (Some companies may require that you fill out their own identity theft form, be sure to inquire when you call.) This statement will outline the information these companies require to commence an investigation. Available on the Service Alberta Website.
  • File a police or RCMP complaint and contact Phonebusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre. Make sure to note your complaint number. 

What to do if you become a victim of identity theft, businesses: 

  • Create a list of what was stolen, and where and when it happened.
  • File a police or RCMP complaint and contact Phonebusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre. Make sure to note your reference number.
  • Inform the fraud departments at the three primary Canadian credit bureaus. Equifax: (877) 323-2598. TransUnion: (877) 525-3823, Quebec (877) 713-3393. Northern Credit Bureau: 1-800-532-8784. They will be able to advise you on how to proceed, and if you require a “Fraud Alert” on your files. Make sure to note your reference number here as well.
  • Inform the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta: 1-888-878-4044.
  • Notify those affected of the breach. Prepare a letter to send to those who have been affected by the breach, outlining what they should do, information about the possible threats of identity theft, and where to find more information. Sample available on the Service Alberta Website.
  • Prepare responses to the probable questions of those affected who you have notified of the breach. Examples available on the Service Alberta Website.
  • Prepare a media brief if it is likely that the breach will attract media attention. Include the measures you are taking to correct the situation, and outline what you have done so far.

 Impacts of identity theft on the victim: 

  • Financial repercussions as a result of incurred liabilities and debt and a damaged credit rating.
  • Psychological repercussions as a result of an invasion of privacy and ruined reputation.
  • An average of $1,495 and 600 hours getting assets and liabilities straightened out.[71]
  • Occasionally, victims are arrested for crimes the perpetrator has committed in their name.
  • Difficulty procuring loans, mortgages, security clearances, and employment.

 Impacts for society: 

  • Higher interest rates for credit holders, as a result of companies trying to cover the expenses of fraud while offering “zero-liability” policies for accounts to consumers.[72]
  • Higher cost of merchandise and services for consumers, as companies try to cover losses from fraud or theft committed by identity theft.
  • From the case law, judges asserted that identity theft crimes will result in a lack of faith in identity documents, the mail, and credit cards, menacing the way our society and economy works.

 Identity Theft Resources for Consumers and Businesses 

For victims to report ID theft crimes, scams, and fraud: 

  • Local Police
  • Local RCMP
  • Reporting Economic Crime Online (RECOL): www.recol.ca/
  • Phonebusters: 1-888-495-8501

Forms/Checklists/Letters for dealing with ID theft: 

  • Consumers: 
    • Identity Theft Statement (Available online from Service Alberta or the Consumer Measures Committee)
    • Checklist and record of who to contact (Available online from Edmonton Police Service or the Consumer Measures Committee) 
  • Businesses: 
    • Notification Letter of Breach (Available online from Service Alberta)
    • Checklist of what to do following a breach (Available online from Service Alberta)

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