It is recommended that people avoid giving out personal information when it is not necessary to do so. Here are a few preventive tips and useful resources should you encounter any problems.

Identity theft and stolen personal information

Have you been the victim of identity theft or stolen personal information? Did you unwittingly provide your personal or financial information?

To find out what to do in such situations, refer to the checklist titled Perte ou vol de son identité : Comment réagir? (available in French only) published by the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, the provincial body responsible for applying the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector.

The websites of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Autorité des marchés financiers also contain useful advice on this subject.

Credit card loss, theft or fraud

Check your credit card and bank statements on a regular basis to make sure no unauthorized purchases have been made.

Has your credit card been lost, stolen or fraudulently used? Notify the card issuer without delay. As of that moment, you cannot be held responsible for any new transactions made by another person with your card.

If you fail to notify the issuer that the card was used without your authorization, your liability is limited to the first $50 by law.

Protecting your personal identification number (PIN)

Despite this protection, be especially careful with your credit card's personal identification number (PIN). If the credit card issuer can prove that you were careless, reckless or grossly negligent in protecting your PIN number, you could be required to reimburse any losses the issuer may have sustained.

Beware of fraudsters

An individual pretending to be representing a merchant with whom you have already done business contacts you to update your file. This person asks you for your credit card number. Be careful if you did not request this call. This person could be a fraudster who is impersonating a merchant to obtain your personal information.

Also beware of any emails that supposedly come from your financial institution. These institutions should not be sending you a message in which they ask you for personal or banking information.

Purchases made online, by phone or by mail

When making a purchase online, by phone or by mail, only provide information that is relevant to the transaction. If you have any doubts about a request for information, you can contact the merchant to find out how they plan to use this information.

If you are shopping online, merchants often post their privacy policy on their website. Be sure to read it.

Secure websites

Make sure to do business on a secure website. A website is likely to be secure if:

  • the website address begins with ;
  • an icon, often a small locked padlock, appears beside the address bar or at the bottom of the page.

Credit file

Check your credit file on a regular basis to see if it contains any errors. Make sure all of the information that appears in your file is accurate and up to date.

To check your credit file, you must contact the credit assessment agents Equifax or TransUnion. You may be charged fees for this service.

If you have any problems, you can contact the Commission d’accès à l’information. Its information document (in French only) on credit files contains useful information on this subject.

Passwords

Always use a unique password for each of your online accounts. Make sure they are complex, change them regularly and never share them. If you have to take note of your passwords, do so offline and be sure to keep them in a safe place.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Your Social Insurance Number could be used to obtain your personal information. It is therefore very important to be extremely cautious whenever you are asked to provide this number. Only provide it when it is absolutely necessary.

Who can ask for your SIN? In what circumstances are you not required to provide it? You can find the answers to all of these questions on the website of Service Canada, the federal body responsible for SINs.

Avoid leaving your SIN card in your wallet; store it in a safe place, along with any documents that contain your SIN.


Last update : February 4, 2020