Identity theft is committed when someone steals your personal information — such as your name, Social Insurance Number, and date of birth — typically to hijack your credit and use it for fraudulent purposes, such as opening up new credit accounts, taking out loans in your name, or accessing your bank or retirement accounts. An identity thief can even use your personal information to steal your tax refunds or commit crimes in your name.
Once an identity thief has access to your personal information, he or she could also:
- Open new credit card accounts with your name, Social Insurance Number and date of birth. When the thief charges to the credit cards and leaves the bills unpaid, the delinquency will be reported to your credit report and could impact your credit score;
- Open a bank account in your name and write bad cheques on the account;
- Create counterfeit cheques or debit cards and use them to drain your existing bank accounts;
- File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts;
- Set up a phone, wireless, or other utility service in your name.