Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is required for work and to receive any type of government benefits in Canada. You will be assigned a unique number if you are a Canadian citizen, a temporary resident, or a newcomer to Canada.
It works in a similar way as the Social Security Number (SSN) issued to eligible candidates in the United States and there is a risk that someone can steal your number and use it illegally.
Here’s what you need to do if your SIN card has been stolen:
Review all financial transaction statements closely
If someone has stolen your Social Insurance Number, they may also have tapped into your bank accounts or used your credit card without your authorization. Immediately take a look at your bank account balances, recent credit card transactions, and other financial transaction statements to detect any type of suspicious activity.
If you find that someone has been using your credit cards or withdrawn funds from your accounts, you will need to contact each financial institution immediately and report the fraudulent activity.
Check your mail services
Make sure that your mail delivery has not been disrupted in any way. Anyone with your SIN can steal your identity and change your address or contact information.
Verify that everything is still in order and that your contact information hasn’t changed.
Notify the credit bureaus
You will need to contact Equifax in Canada (1-800-465-7166) and TransUnion in Canada (1-800-663-9980) for a free copy of your credit report. (As of 2009, Experian stopped providing credit reports for residents in Canada).
Take a good look at your credit reports to make sure that no accounts have been opened in your name, and that your account balances haven’t suddenly increased.
If you see signs of any type of suspicious activity, you can ask the credit bureau to flag your credit file and explain that you think your personal information has been put at risk. To flag your credit file, put a fraud alert or credit freeze on it.
Call the police
If you believe your SIN card has been used fraudulently by using your credit cards, tapping in to your bank accounts, changing your mail delivery service, or by applying for loans and credit cards in your name, you should call the police to report the fraudulent activity.
The police department will need to know as many details as possible, including when you first realized that your SIN card had been stolen, and what types of accounts you believe have been compromised. The police can investigate the case or forward it to the necessary parties for further investigation.
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