FCAC reminds consumers credit reports can help protect them from financial fraud
November 3, 2017
In advance of Order Your Credit Report Day, November 5, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is reminding Canadians of the importance of ordering their credit report. This is more important than ever in light of recent cases of personal data breaches.
FCAC advises Canadians to order their credit report at least once a year from both of Canada’s credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. Each credit bureau may have different information about consumers’ credit history.
However, in the event of a data breach or identity theft, consumers should consider ordering their credit report from both credit bureaus immediately. Consumers may order their credit report for free by mail, fax or telephone as often as they wish. Fraudsters may not use compromised personal information right away. FCAC recommends vigilant, ongoing monitoring of one’s credit profile.
If consumers suspect they have been a victim of fraud, they can contact TransUnion and Equifax and request that a fraud alert be added to their credit report file. A credit alert advises potential lenders to contact the consumer and confirm their identity before approving any applications for credit. This will protect the consumer in the event that someone attempts to apply for a credit product in their name. It is free to set up a fraud alert with Equifax, while TransUnion charges a one-time fee of $5.00 plus taxes.
“Part of FCAC’s consumer protection mandate is to play a national role in strengthening financial literacy through consumer education. Promoting an understanding of financial rights and responsibilities, such as the right to order credit reports for free, helps empower consumers to take an active role in protecting and strengthening their own financial well-being.”
Lucie Tedesco, Commissioner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
“We are living in a society where digital connectivity is at an all-time high, and as such, data breaches and identity theft are a risk. Order Your Credit Report Day is a reminder that not only is it free to request a copy of your credit report, but that it’s essential to do so regularly to ensure no one has applied for a credit product in your name.”
Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
A credit report is a summary of your credit history.
Your credit score is a three-digit number that comes from the information in your credit report. It shows how well you manage credit and how risky it would be for a lender to lend you money.
It’s free to request a credit report by mail, fax or telephone as often as you wish.
You may have to pay a fee to order a credit report online, although TransUnion allows you to do so once annually for free.
Ordering your credit report has no impact on your credit score.
FCAC recommends ordering your credit report at least once a year from both TransUnion and Equifax, or immediately in the case of fraud or a personal data breach.
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact TransUnion and Equifax to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
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