Stolen credit cards, drivers’ licences, other cards and online data breaches can all be used to defraud consumers.

Stolen credit cards, drivers’ licences, other cards and online data breaches can all be used to defraud consumers.
Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Canadians warned to check their credit in light of recent hacks

The government’s Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is urging Canadians to order credit reports to make sure no one is fraudulently using their personal information. There are two credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, which collect information about consumers’ credit history and will provide it to individuals for free upon request.

Credit reports can be order by phone, fax or mail.
Credit reports can be order by phone, fax or mail.

Check every year, urges agency

The government agency has declared November 5th Order Your Credit Report Day and it suggests that people request credit reports every year. It is emphasizing the particular importance of this in light of recent cases of personal data breaches. It notes that fraudsters may not use personal information right away and fraud can occur years after data have been stolen.

If someone suspects they have been a victim of fraud, they can contact the two credit bureaus and have a fraud alert added to their file. Equifax will do it for free. TransUnion charges a one-time fee of five dollars plus tax. The companies will then alert potential lenders to contact the consumer and confirm their identity before approving any applications for credit.

Equifax’ own site was hacked in September and information about 143 million people was stolen including that of an unspecified number of Canadians. The company set up a website so consumers could check whether their personal information was stolen.

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