Identity theft vs identity fraud

Identity theft refers to the collection or acquisition of someone else's personal information to conduct other criminal activities. Identity theft can occur through the telephone, email, regular mail or the internet.

Identity fraud is the actual use of another person's information, living or deceased, in connection with fraud. This includes impersonation and the misuse of debit or credit card data.

Fraudsters use a range of techniques to get a consumer's identity. It can be as simple as obtaining personal information through a dumpster dive or through more sophisticated means using technology such as phishing, skimming, malware, spyware and viruses.

While consumers do not suffer direct financial losses, they can spend hours alerting financial institutions and the credit bureaus. Additionally, they may have difficulty obtaining credit or re-establishing a good credit rating in the future.

Warning sign(s) - How to protect yourself

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls or mail asking for personal or financial information.
  • Be aware of creditors or collection agency calls about an application or account you do not have.
  • Stay current. Check your bank and credit card statements monthly and report any suspicious activity. Report any missing mail or statements right away.
  • Shred all personal and financial documents.
  • Obtain a credit report once a year for free through the two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.

Were you a victim?

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

Competition Bureau of Canada
Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358

Ontario Provincial Police
Toll-free: 1-888-310-1122

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Toll-free: 1-866-461-3222

Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)


Fraud: Recognize, report and stop it!

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