Navigating Identity Theft in Canada: Prevention, Detection, and Recovery

Identity theft is the unauthorized use of personal information to commit fraud, while identity fraud refers to the actual deceptive use of the stolen identity to obtain goods, services, or funds. In Canada, identity theft and fraud are serious issues. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s Annual Statistical Report, there were over 46,000 reported cases of identity theft in 2020. The impact of identity theft on individuals can be devastating, causing emotional distress, financial loss, and damage to credit reputation. The economic cost to society and businesses is also significant.

Types of Identity Theft

  • Financial identity theft occurs when a thief uses stolen personal information to open bank accounts, apply for loans, or make purchases.
  • Criminal identity theft involves the use of someone else’s identity during an arrest or investigation.
  • Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identity to obtain medical services or prescription drugs.
  • Child identity theft is when a child’s personal information is used to commit fraud.
  • Synthetic identity theft involves creating a new identity using a combination of real and fake information.

Prevention Tips

Interesting Fact: Identity theft can occur through physical theft, digital theft, and social engineering.

  • Secure personal information by storing it in a safe place and being cautious when sharing it.
  • Create strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication on online accounts.
  • Regularly monitor financial transactions for suspicious activity.
  • Shred or safely dispose of sensitive documents, such as old bank statements and tax returns.
  • Be cautious with public Wi-Fi and shared computers, as they can be more susceptible to hacking.
  • Educate yourself on phishing and social engineering attacks to recognize and avoid them.


  • Regularly check credit reports from Canadian credit bureaus, such as Equifax and TransUnion. Access to free credit reports can be found here.
  • Monitor financial transactions for unusual activities or unauthorized charges.
  • Be aware of signs of identity theft, such as receiving bills for services you didn’t use or being denied credit for unknown reasons.

FAQ: What are some warning signs of identity theft?

What to Do If Identity Theft Happens

  • Contact financial institutions and credit card companies to report the theft and secure your accounts.
  • Report the theft to local police and obtain a copy of the police report for documentation.
  • Report the theft to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre using their Reporting System.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report by following the instructions found here.
  • Document the steps taken for recovery and keep records of all correspondence with authorities and financial institutions.

FAQ: What should I do if I suspect my identity has been stolen in Canada?

Reporting Identity Theft and Fraud in Canada

  • How to report identity theft to authorities: Contact local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to file a report.
  • Resources for victims of identity theft: The Government of Canada provides assistance through their Identity Theft Support Centre.


Preventing, detecting, and recovering from identity theft is essential for protecting both individuals and society. By adopting best practices and staying informed, individuals can minimize the risk of identity theft. In case of identity theft, it is important to act quickly and utilize available resources and support.

FAQ: Where can I find more information on identity theft in Canada?