The province of Québec adopted the Credit Assessment Agents Act a while back, so as to better protect consumers against the practices of credit agencies such a Equifax. When that particular law came into effect, however, the legislator opted to wait before implementing one particular section dealing with what is generally referred to as a “security freeze”.
Good news on that front: since February 1st 2023, Section 8 of the act is now in force, thereby providing Quebecers who wish to do so with the possibility of effecting a credit freeze. As described in the act, a security freeze prohibits any credit agency (you know, those which hold your credit report and give you a credit score) from communicating your personal information and your credit report when the information was requested by a business claiming that it needs it to provide you with credit.
When such a freeze is in place, for example, a bank will simply be told by the credit bureau it can’t disclose your credit report as you have previously elected to implement a security freeze. In the normal course of things, the bank will then have to have a talk with you or whoever is impersonating you) about this, thereby stopping the attempt to open credit facilities in your name.
Of course, if you’re shopping around of a new credit card, this may prove an inconvenience for you but if you’re not in the process of hoping to secure more credit in the foreseeable future, this is definitely something you may want to think about doing.
Contrary to some subscription services offered by credit agencies, a security freeze must be available to Quebecers FREE OF CHARGE. Though I’m sure implementing one requires jumping through hoops, it may be worthwhile to avoid the eventual headache of having to deal with identity theft! By the way, so far, the act at issue applies to Equifax and Trans-Union, so you will have to contact both these entities to see about implementing a freeze for yourself.
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