Friday, April 8, 2016 8:55 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction
Time and time again this blog reminds its readers to properly dispose of paper and electronic documents in order to prevent identity theft. We discuss the process of securing your appointment with our mobile shredders so you don’t become the victim. For businesses and healthcare professionals, we explain how document destruction isn’t just our suggestion but the law, as the Government of Canada outlines the appropriate disposal methods to protect consumers. We also give examples of what happens to those organizations and corporations that fail to dispose of their documents correctly, outlining the penalties and fines that they face for their misconduct. What we haven’t gone over are the consequences an individual sustains should their identity be stolen.
No, we’re not suggesting that the Government of Canada will fine you should you let your personal information get into the wrong hands. That would be cruel and unusual punishment! However, once your identity is stolen, you do face significant costs to your time, money, and credit standing. Today, we’d like to go over how a stolen identity can affect you.
When you first realize your identity has been stolen, you’ll immediately cancel all of your cards and accounts. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to get in to contact with the government, credit unions, and financial institutions to alert them of the situation and to reverse the false charges made in your name.
On paper, it sounds easy. But if you’ve ever been on hold for Service Canada or Master Card, then you know that this won’t be a simple 5-minute phone call. Getting in touch with all of the organizations involved in your finances takes time. In fact, it’s estimated that it takes 600 hours to recover. Back to back, that amounts to 25 full days.
Even with all of these hours logged and all of your efforts dedicated, you might not be able to reverse the effects of the theft from your record completely. Sometimes, you’ll have difficulty with future insurance and credit card accounts as you encounter increased interest rates and fees due to your history. You may end up having to pay for some charges or any legal assistance you require while refuting the charges. The average victim ends up spending $2,000 of their own money to cover these expenses.
Being responsible for 2 grand is a slap in the face for anyone who’s just spent 600 hours setting their financial records straight. Frustrating doesn’t even cover it. It can be downright devastating, especially if you were already struggling financially before your identity was stolen. It might not be the Government of Canada doling out fines, but these consequences certainly feel like punishments for being a victim.
That’s why it’s so important to take the appropriate steps to avoid ever being a victim. Protect your personal information by keeping cards, documents, and electronics safe. When you’re ready to dispose of anything that may contain financial accounts or your SIN, speak with one of our representatives to learn about our document shredding services. We can schedule a document destruction appointment and shred any paper files or electronics that you need. Preventing identity theft and avoiding these consequences is that easy – just give us a call.