Identity Theft: Has Someone Been Trading On Your Good Name?

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Signs of Identity Teft

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is encouraging Canadian consumers to review their credit report regularly for the warning signs of identity theft. To assist consumers in doing so, FCAC has issued Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score, a new booklet that offers key information on obtaining and understanding a credit report and score and getting any errors corrected.

"Identity theft can have serious and lasting effects," explained FCAC Commissioner, Bill Knight. "Canadians want to know how to keep their information safe and what they should be doing to protect themselves. A good place to start is to check your credit report regularly; it's one of the first places where evidence of identity theft can become apparent."

"Identity theft is not always obvious. Thieves can use your personal information to open a credit account, having the statements sent to a different address so that you never realize there's a problem - until you apply for credit and get turned down," said Knight.

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Knight advises consumers to check their credit reports at least once a year, paying particular attention to any credit products or accounts that they may have not authorized or requested. If they suspect identity theft, consumers should contact their financial institutions and the credit reporting agency immediately.

FCAC's new booklet Understanding your Credit Report and Credit Score provides information on how consumers can obtain their credit reports for free by mail from the credit bureaus; how to understand the information in a credit report; and how to get any errors that may show up on their report corrected. The free booklet also provides tips on how to improve a low credit score.

FCAC has also released the latest update of its popular guide, Credit Cards and You. This comprehensive information package includes useful general information on credit cards as well as side-by-side, feature-by-feature comparisons of over 200 credit cards available in Canada.

Understanding your Credit Report and Credit Score and Credit Cards and You are available to the public free of charge through FCAC's Web site (www.fcac.gc.ca) and the Agency's toll-free Consumer Contact Centre (1-866-461-3222).

FCAC ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also provides consumers with accurate and objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights when dealing with financial institutions.

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