Tuesday, 15 April 2014

PSA: Something You Can Do about Identity Theft

I was once the victim of identity theft. It was minor: somebody writing letters to the editor in my name (I was a small-fish local activist). I kicked up a shitstorm, got retractions. All good.

But the revelations about the theft of data from the Canada Revenue Agency are more worrying.

There is a very nasty scam that can be perpetrated completely without your knowledge until it jumps up to bite you on the ass. And it can take years to unscrew.

With some really basic info on you, bad guys can apply for and potentially get credit of various sorts in your name. If they're successful, they run up debt and ruin your credit rating in the process.

And you won't find out until you apply for a credit card or a mortgage or something and get refused.

Luckily, there something you can do and it's FREE.

There are two credit rating agencies that want to sell you all kinds of credit monitoring programs, but that will also (must have been arm-twisted by government) provide some info on your credit rating for FREE.

Their sites manage to hide the FREE service rather well, but I sussed them out this morning and here they are.

TransUnion and Equifax.

Smarty-pantses say you should check on this regularly. I last did it about 10 years ago when I heard of the scam, but I'm on it again now.

You're welcome.

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