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What to do if you’re a victim of ID theft

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Once your personal information has been used by another person there are several notifications that need to be made including the local police, financial institutes, credit bureaus, utility companies and service providers, Canada Post, Service Canada and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The first step in reclaiming your identity is to start a log book in which you can record all contacts and notifications made.

It is important to include the dates, times, phone numbers, the names of the people that you spoke to and any follow-up that is required.

Next, gather all information/documents that will be needed to file a police report.

These documents will include how you became aware of the identity theft, records pertaining to any financial loss or credit obtained in your name and any emails or correspondence between you and the suspects.  

Obtain a copy of your credit report and review the information. If you notice entries there are not yours, contact the credit bureau and the vendor to report the fraudulent transaction. Request that the credit bureau put a fraud alert on your file. Contact your financial institution and inform them of the circumstances around the fraud. Develop a plan to prevent further frauds from occurring; this may involve closing existing accounts and opening new ones.  

Contact Canada Post and notify them of any stolen or missing mail; inquire if there have been any requests for mail to be forwarded from your address to an alternate address. If a request was made locally, there may be video surveillance footage available that would assist law enforcement in identifying suspects.

Service Canada is a single point of contact for the Government of Canada and can notify several major departments at once including passports, old age security, Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.  Provincial government departments must be notified separately.

File a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) either by phone or online. The CAFC analyzes the information and partners with law enforcement agencies to provide support for investigations.

Last, educate yourself to protect yourself!  Often fraudsters will try to victimize the same people multiple times as they already have the information and may have been successful in obtaining money or credit the first time.

Detective Curtis Chiborak, is a member of the Winnipeg Police Service, currently assigned to the Commercial Crime Unit.

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