Do rating agencies have to inform you when there is an audit of your file?

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Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. This constituency includes the communities of Kelowna (precise boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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For most Canadians, identity theft is a concern, however, unless you have personally been a victim of identity theft, most are unaware of how serious the consequences can be and at how difficult it is to fix it.

In 2010, identity theft in Canada affected just over two in every 100,000 people, but in 2020 that rate has increased significantly to 20 in every 100,000 people.

In terms of actual numbers, since the COVID pandemic, reported incidents of identity theft have increased to over 17,000 in 2020 and, although data is not yet available for 2021, it is widely expected that they have doubled.

One of the reasons for this significant increase in identity theft has to do with CERB (the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit).

CERB was a program that had very few safeguards against identity theft, and worse, made it a profitable business among criminals and other disreputable individuals.

Currently, there are Canadians shocked to learn that they have to repay CERB benefits that they never received, because they find out that they have been victims of identity theft.

For those who have been victimized, this is a very difficult situation to rectify, as many institutions operate in a reverse charging environment where a victim of identity theft must prove that they were in no way responsible for the situation in question.

Many frustrated people turn to the media, and you’ve probably heard about identity theft from media stories about it.

In my view, governments at all levels are doing little to combat this growing problem.

I would like to share the following idea with citizens to get their feedback.

If you are an online “Google” user, you will know that if your account is accessed or there is an attempt to access your account from a new location, you will receive a verification text or email asking you to confirm the connection or attempting to connect.

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<p>This is often referred to as “two-step verification”.</p>
<p>Google is of course not the only online company to use two or more step verification, many other social media platforms have done so, as have a growing number of banks and credit unions, to verify its identity when accessing online services.</p>
<p>Even logging into your CRA account remotely now involves a two-step verification process.</p>
<p>Unfortunately, when it comes to your credit score, I couldn’t identify any rating agency that uses a verification process or an alert like Google does when someone accesses your credit file.</p>
<p>Given the evolution of technology in terms of accessibility and scale, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that someone can sign up so that whenever there’s an inquiry into their rating credit, he is contacted by the credit rating agency in question by SMS or e-mail and informed of the person making the request.</p>
<p>The intent of this idea is to help reduce identity theft and make consumers more aware of who is accessing your credit score records.</p>
<p>I’m sure the credit agencies in question would say that their credit records are exactly that – their records on your credit score – and that any new requirements would make their system and those depending on it slower.</p>
<p>However, as these credit ratings impact citizens’ ability to obtain a loan or mortgage, or in some cases to rent a property, and ensuring that credit ratings are used correctly with the businesses you have decided to deal with and not by scammers is a legitimate counterpoint.</p>
<p>The costs of such an alert system have come down and it is in everyone’s interest to minimize fraud.</p>
<p>I researched this idea through the Library of Parliament and, unfortunately, because of the way some financial services, such as credit bureaus, are provincially regulated across Canada, by through consumer protection laws, it’s not something that could be addressed through a private member’s bill.  otherwise, I would consider tabling such a bill.</p>
<p>My question this week: would you support credit rating agencies advising you when there is an inquiry into your credit rating file?</p>
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<p><em>I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.</em></p>
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