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Identity theft

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Providing Answers and Protection for Over 50 Years

Hand writing answers to questions with a writing pen.

How do thieves get my personal information?

There are numerous ways that thieves can obtain personally identifiable information (PII). Examples include:

  • Stealing physical items such as mail, wallet/purse, smartphone, 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.

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.

Are pre-existing issues covered?

Most pre-existing identity theft events are not covered under the full restoration benefit. However, our plans can still provide valuable protection and support.

Benefits such as unlimited consultation with an identity theft expert to help you deal with pre-existing identity theft, help placing a fraud alert on your credit accounts and ongoing monitoring to track any new issues provide critical support when you need it most.

If you’ve already experienced identity theft, join immediately and contact our identity theft experts to prevent additional damage to your finances and reputation.

How do I know if I’ve been a victim of identity theft?

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 Social Insurance number 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 experts if they have any questions or concerns regarding the status of their identity.

How does identity theft restoration work?

IDShield has a team of identity theft experts to provide the best identity restoration possible and undo the damage done by identity thieves. Our IDShield identity theft experts 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.

How does monitoring protect me from identity theft?

Credit report monitoring in itself 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.

Who is covered by the family plan?

The participant, their spouse/partner and up to 10 dependant children under the age of 18. Note that monitoring services are not available for dependant children ages 18-26 but dependant children of the member or members spouse ages 18-26 are eligible for consultation and restoration services only.

Is identity theft the same 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 the identity theft incidents reported to the FTC each year.

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.

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, such as for making unauthorized purchases.

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.

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.

If there is an account on my credit report I did not open, does that prove 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 Social Insurance number.

Why do I get different credit scores from different credit 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, is that enough protection?

A fraud alert is 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.

While fraud alerts are a great tool, they should not be considered complete protection. There are many other ways thieves can use your personal identification information to steal money and commit fraud beyond credit cards, such as filing false tax returns or initiating fraudulent transfers from your bank accounts, which fraud alerts to do not protect against.

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Each plan covers:

  • Identity protection
  • Identity restoration
  • Financial protection
  • Cybersecurity


Individual Plan

Protects one person



Family Plan

Protects you, your spouse or domestic partner, and up to 10 children living with you