Frequent Questions








What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of personally identifiable information (PII) by a thief to obtain goods, services, and/or employment; commit a crime; gain a benefit; or prevent revealing the thief’s real identity.

PII includes but may not be limited to a consumer’s name, Social Insurance number, date of birth, address, driver’s licence number, telephone number, passport information, birth certificate, student transcript, or medical record.

How do thieves get my information?

There are numerous ways that thieves can obtain personal identifiers. Some are by: 

  • Stealing physical items such as mail, wallet/purse, smart phone, trash, etc.
  • Stealing digital data as when a business computer system is breached, your computer is tainted with malware or a skimmer is placed on a payment card reader.
  • Gathering personal information from social networks and data aggregator websites.
  • Phishing schemes – tricks to get you to reveal information.
Is checking my credit report enough?

No. There are a lot of things that an identity thief can do that will not impact your credit report. If an identity thief has done something else with your identity such as opened a utility account or committed a crime, those types of activity would not be discoverable on a credit report or through free credit monitoring.

Who is affected by identity theft?

Identity theft is a crime that does not discriminate. If you have personally identifiable information—and everyone does—it can be stolen and misused regardless of age, credit usage, technology usage, or any other factor.

Is identity theft the same thing as credit card fraud?

Identity theft is much more than credit card fraud. It’s the fraudulent use of personally identifiable information (PII) by a thief for the purpose of obtaining goods, services, and/or employment, committing a crime, gaining a benefit or hiding a real identity. It can include a consumer’s name, Social Insurance number, date of birth, address, driver’s licence number, telephone number, passport information, birth certificate information, student transcript data and medical record information.

If I have a bad credit score do I need to worry about identity theft?

Remember, identity theft is not limited to credit fraud. In fact, credit-related identity theft accounts for only a small amount of identity theft incidents. 

Someone can misuse your driver's licence number, make counterfeit checks using your personal information, use your identity to rent an apartment or apply for a payday loan, or give your name and other identifiers to the police if they’re arrested. These activities and others have nothing to do with your credit history.

There is an account on my credit report that I did not open. Doesn't that confirm that I’m a victim of identity theft?

No. Many reports contain errors. If you find an account on your credit report you don’t recognize, call that creditor and ask them to tell you whether there is an account that was opened with the use of your personal identifying information, particularly, your SIN.

How do I prove I'm an identity theft victim?

Sometimes a consumer may think identity theft has occurred when it may not actually have. If there is an account on your credit report that you did not authorize, it is possible that an identity thief used your information to create an account or it could simply be the result of a credit reporting error. You can prove you’re a victim of identity theft if you can confirm that your SIN or other key piece of your Personally Identifiable Information was used to open a credit card account, obtain a loan, submit health care information or similar unauthorized activity. IDShield members have unlimited consultation with Identity Theft Specialists if they have any questions or concerns regarding the status of their identity.

Should I check my bank and credit card accounts even if I haven’t used them in the last month?

Yes. Be certain you receive a monthly statement and review it even when you haven’t initiated any transactions. If a thief has accessed an account that belongs to you, the monthly statement will alert you. It’s your responsibility to inform your bank or credit card company that fraudulent activity is taking place. If a statement doesn’t arrive, call the issuer and determine if someone has changed the address on your account.

What is the Dark Web?

Often confused with the “deep web” which is simply those parts of the internet not indexed by any search engine, the “dark web” includes those sites that take measures to hide their IP address to remain anonymous. The most notorious sites on the dark web are those with illegal activities such as the sale of stolen information (think credit/debit card data and personal identifiers that can be used to commit identity theft), drug sales, weapon sales and pornography.

What is credit or debit card fraud?

Credit and debit card fraud, sometimes referred to as “existing account fraud,” occurs when a thief steals information on an existing account and then uses it to make use of that account.

In contrast, “new account fraud” happens when the thief uses the victim’s personally identifiable information to establish an entirely new account of which the victim has no knowledge.

What is government documents or benefits identity theft?

The largest category here is tax return fraud which occurs when someone uses your stolen SIN to file a fraudulent tax return to claim tax refund. This category would also include use of stolen identifiers to claim government benefits. Driver’s licenses obtained by means of identity theft are also included in this category.

What is medical identity theft?

Medical identity theft is typically described as the fraudulent use of an individual’s personal information, SIN, or health insurance information to obtain medical services and treatment. The stolen information can be used to obtain medical goods and services or for health insurance coverage. It can also be used to commit fraud in the form of insurance reimbursement for treatments that are not provided.

What is criminal identity theft?

Criminal identity theft occurs when an individual is arrested for a crime or ticketed for a violation and then supplies the arresting officer with your name and PII (e.g. an address, date of birth, and/or SIN). The imposter may even present a fake driver’s license to law enforcement, further legitimizing the identity thief’s claim to be you.

What is child identity theft?

Identity theft involving minors occurs when a child’s personally identifiable information is used by another individual for personal gain. There are essentially two types of victims: one who learns of the issue while still a minor child and the other, one who was victimized when they were a minor but didn’t learn of it until they were of adult age.

What is identity theft of the deceased?

Identity theft of deceased individuals occurs when an imposter uses the personally identifiable information of the decedent to commit fraudulent acts. Such acts may include obtaining credit, opening accounts, setting up utilities, receiving medical benefits, and even committing criminal acts.

What is employment identity theft?

Employment-related identity theft occurs when another individual uses your SIN and, perhaps, other PII to obtain employment. This results in additional wages being reported to government agencies which can create other problems.

What is an identity theft report?

It’s the report filed with a law enforcement agency that details what the identity theft victim reported to that agency. What type of identity theft took place? And what entities were involved? Combined with proof of the victim’s identity and residence address, an identity theft report proves that the person providing the report is an actual victim of identity theft and not an identity thief. It can also be provided to credit reporting agencies for putting extended fraud alerts in place.

How is a credit score different from a credit report?

Your credit score is a numerical representation of the history of credit use found in your credit report. Your credit report lists the details of your credit history, which can include creditor names, addresses, loan amounts, credit limits, payments made on time or past due, and amount of monthly payments.

How can I improve my credit score?

Focus on paying your bills in a timely way by paying down any outstanding balances and staying away from new debt. Be patient, improving a credit score takes time. There are so many factors, it’s hard to say how long it will take to improve a credit score.

Why do I get different scores from different credit score sources?

Although most credit reports contain the same information, there is a chance that one credit report might have data that a different credit-reporting agency doesn’t have. If you get credit scores that are each based on a different credit report, you could see different credit scores.

I placed a fraud alert. Does that mean no one can see my credit report?

No. The fraud alert is not seen until a potential creditor pulls your credit report, which generates an inquiry. A credit or security freeze prevents unauthorized access to your credit report.

I placed a fraud alert for myself. Does that cover my spouse as well?

No. A separate fraud alert must be placed for your spouse. You each have a unique SIN and your own file at the credit reporting agencies. Even though you may have the same credit accounts, you each need to review and protect your reports. One of you could become a victim of identity theft without the other becoming a victim.

Can I place a fraud alert or credit freeze for my child when they turn 18?

No. These tasks can’t be completed unless the individual requesting the alert or freeze has a credit file. Consumers don’t automatically have credit files at age 18. Credit files are created when credit is established with a creditor that reports to a credit bureau.

What is a fraud security alert?

It’s a statement on your credit report indicating that you’re vulnerable to becoming a victim or have been a victim of identity theft. It asks a credit reviewer to take reasonable extra steps to verify the identity of the applicant, reducing the chance a thief will succeed in opening new accounts.

What is identity theft restoration?

IDShield has Identity Theft Specialists to provide the best identity restoration possible and undo the damage done by identity thieves. Our IDShield Identity Theft Specialists will work for as long as it takes to restore a member’s identity to its pre-theft status to ensure that they are not held responsible for the debts created by the identity thief. By performing comprehensive restoration services, consumer reports are returned to their pre-theft status and other records are cleared of the activity created by the identity thief.

What is the difference between resolution, remediation, and restoration?

Use of the terms “resolution,” “remediation,” and “restoration” by different businesses or products can mean different things. There is no industry-standard for the definition of each. We urge consumers to thoroughly understand the services offered when considering an identity theft product.

Important questions to get answers to include: - Does the company take on the bulk of the work necessary to help me recover from identity theft—including making phone calls and mailing letters as needed—or does the company simply provide a “do-it-yourself” kit? - Is the company staffed with experts on the numerous and varied aspects of identity theft?

How does monitoring protect me from identity theft?

Credit report monitoring does not prevent identity theft. However, it’s a tool that can alert you to activity that may indicate identity theft is being attempted or has taken place. If you learn someone used your data to apply for credit, you’ll take steps to prevent future misuse of your data.

Someone used my SIN to open a credit card account. Can I get a new SIN?

It’s unlikely the government will issue a new number for limited identity theft. In fact, it would probably create a new set of problems for you. Remember that your SIN is connected to your employment, tax, education and medical records. Seeking a new SIN is only considered in extreme situations.

What’s the difference between a soft inquiry and a hard inquiry?

Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score and can include pre-approved offers of credit and insurance, employer background checks, in addition to checking your own credit. Hard Inquiries are made by an entity checking your credit, for instance, when you’ve applied for a credit card, loan or mortgage. Numerous frequent hard inquiries can lower your score.

I hear a lot about companies having data breaches. What is that? Should I be worried?

A data breach occurs when someone accesses information that they do not have the authority to access. Sometimes this occurs accidentally as when an employee mistakenly sends a file to someone outside of the company but it can occur by malicious intent as well. The potential risk relates to what personal information was exposed in the breach.

How did the Yahoo data breaches occur?

Yahoo announced that it had suffered two separate data breaches. In September 2016, the company revealed that 500 Million accounts had been accessed in a data breach in 2014. Additionally, in December 2016, Yahoo announced that over 1 Billion accounts were hacked in a separate breach that occurred in 2013, making it one of the largest data breaches to occur.

What information would the hackers have access to?

This information may include account holder names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, dates of birth, telephone numbers and, in some cases, security questions and answers. If you have a Yahoo Account and use the same password with other accounts, this could make your other emails and personal accounts vulnerable. We recommend changing your passwords and using unique ones on all sites requiring a log-in.

I have a Yahoo email address. What should I do?

We want to make sure you are being proactive and protecting yourself. In addition to contacting an IDShield Consultant if you believe your information has been compromised, we recommend the following:

• Change your account password even if Yahoo doesn't prompt you to do so.

• Choose new security questions and answers for your Yahoo account, and any other accounts on which you used the same or similar questions/answers.

• Be wary if you get odd email messages from a friend with a Yahoo email account as it might be that their account was taken over by a scammer.

• Be wary of email, even if it looks legitimate. Scammers can copy logos and mask the sender's address to appear to be from a trusted person or business.

• Be suspicious if you get a call from Yahoo. They will not call you. Understand that caller id can be masked to appear to be a call from someone or some business familiar to you.

• Make sure you've activated your monitoring available to you through your IDShield membership.

• If you have any concerns or questions at all, please contact us at 888-494-8519.

What should I do if I already have IDShield? Should I contact them to ask them if my Yahoo account has been compromised?

If you have any questions regarding your account, please contact IDShield at 888-494-8519. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Can I still contact IDShield if I do not have an IDShield account?

Unfortunately, you can’t contact one of our identity theft protection consultants. However, we want to make sure that you are taking protecting yourself and your family in light of recent data breach hacks. If you are interested in signing up or learning more about IDShield, go to

How do I sign up for IDShield if I do not have an established credit history?

You must submit a written document to confirm your identity. This is common among young adults and the elderly who do not have established credit. You will receive a prompt after you've signed up on how to begin the validation process. It’s an extra step that helps ensure your safety.

What other benefits does my IDShield membership include?

Your IDShield membership plan also provides you with discounts from more than 20 partner businesses, such as 1-800-Flowers, Dell, HP, Office Depot, Enterprise/National, Men’s Wearhouse, K&G Fashion Superstore, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Six Flags and other great retail partners. Log in to your member portal for complete details and specific offers.

What is your cancellation policy?

Your membership can be cancelled anytime by sending written notice to the Company. Please see your membership benefits for cancellation instructions specific to your plan, or you can call/email Member Services at 888-494-8519 or email [email protected] Important: Your membership and payment remain active until written notice is received.