Addresses, social insurance numbers, and credit card details were compromised in the massive Equifax hack that hit 143 million Americans, and now we’ve learned 100,000 Canadians.
While 100,000 Canadian victims compared to the143 million Americans, seems quite small, if you’re one of the few whose confidential information was compromised, these numbers don’t matter.
Equifax set up a website for Americans to check whether their information was affected by the breach, but that website doesn’t work for Canadians! However, Equifax said that they’ll be sending notices out in the mail to all impacted customers, with instructions as to what to do. Credit card companies are also expected to reach out to those Canadians who were affected as well.
What’s not clear is whether those affected are limited to Canadians with dealings in the U.S. And you can only ask for a replacement SIN if you can prove to the Canadian government that it’s been fraudulently used.
In the meantime, take a proactive stance against identity theft:
Sign up for Equifax’s free credit monitoring and identitytheft protection.Also,consider freezing your credit report. The majority of Canadian banks offer credit monitoring, which helps keep track of any suspicious activity that could potentially be linked to identity theft.
Be sure to scrutinize your credit card and bank statements every month for charges that you don’t recognize. (You should be doing this anyway.)
Watch out for any notifications that new credit applications have been filed on your behalf. If your personal information is circulated on the black market, other criminals will try to find ways to take advantage of it.
Keep a lookout for con artists. Cybercriminals often sell stolen personal information for use in email “phishing” and “spear-phishing” campaigns that persuade victims to hand over additional sensitive information, including bank account numbers. Never send sensitive information via email. Instead, contact the sender of the email by telephone to make sure the correct person really requested the information from you. And, don’t trust anyone who contacts you offering to protect you from the Equifax breach