Identity Theft: A Step by Step Guide To Getting Your Identity Back | Refresh Financial
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Identity Theft: A Step by Step Guide To Getting Your Identity Back

fingerprintSo you’ve taken our advice and obtained your credit report. You’ve skimmed through it and noticed some odd things you don’t recognize. With further scrutiny, you’re sure those things don’t belong on your credit report and when you reach out to the credit bureaus and financial institutions your fears are confirmed. Your identity has been compromised. You've been a victim of identity theft. So, what’s next?

The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. You’re lucky you live in Canada, a country where pretty much everything in your name is protected in some way or another. While it’s not going to be a fun process and I’m sure you’d rather be sunning yourself lakeside with a cool drink in hand, it’s not something you can’t overcome. So, take another deep breath, collect your thoughts and let’s take a look at the next steps.

Step 1:

Call all your financial institutions and credit cards companies to cancel all cards. When asked to reset the pin on your debit and credit cards, use a brand new one you’ve never used before.

Step 2:

Contact Service Canada if you think your SIN number might be compromised.

Step 3:

Change all your passwords and security questions to all online accounts - not just financial accounts, but email, Facebook, Amazon, and anything else you use.

Step 4:

Put a stop payment on any cheques originating from your accounts.

Step 5:

File a police report - you will most likely need this report to be able to complete some of the following steps.

Step 6:

Report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre which you can find here.

Step 7:

Contact TransUnion and have them place a fraud alert on your credit report: 1-800-663-9980.

Step 8:

Contact Equifax and have them place a fraud alert on your credit report too: click here.

Step 9:

Report each instance of fraud on your credit file to the financial institution that manages the account. They will want to investigate on their end as well.

Step 10:

Keep detailed records of all the calls and contacts you’ve made to clear this up. Names, dates, times of calls, and what was said. If you can record the calls, even better.

Step 11:

Keep all the documentation for compromised accounts, just incase resolved issues pop up again in the future.

When everything is cleared up and reissued, you’re still not in the clear. Ensure you’re watching your bank & credit card statements, your utility bills, and your credit report. Even if you have to pay to obtain your credit report more often than the once per year you’re entitled to for free, do it. The minuscule amount of money it’s going to cost you to check your credit report at least quarterly is going to save you a ton of headaches and potentially money in the long run if you catch something suspicious right away.

If you take these steps and keep yourself organized, you’re going to recover from this. Charges that you may not have authorized will be reversed and your credit score restored, it will just take time. Just make sure you act fast, keep records, and watch your accounts and credit report like a hawk and you should be able to come out of this relatively unscathed.

Have you ever had your identity compromised with identity theft? How did it turn out? Did you recover? Let us know in the comments!

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