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Thousands of Canadians fall victim to identity theft every year, and as a result, some have even lost their entire savings. With emerging technology, hackers are getting better and better at accessing your personal data. Luckily, a credit freeze is a great preventative measure in stopping fraudsters from creating false credit accounts in your name. Find out if you can place a credit freeze in Canada. 

What Is A Credit Freeze In Canada?

A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a freeze of access to your credit report and file. If a fraudster steals your information and tries to open a new credit account in your name, a credit freeze prohibits the credit bureau from sharing your credit information or personal data with anyone, which would deter a lender from lending to the fraudster. 

Credit freezes are especially important during data breaches. If a bank, financial service provider, or even the CRA experiences a data breach, you might be at risk for hackers and fraudulent activity. 

Unfortunately, however, credit freezes don’t stop fraudsters from accessing your existing credit accounts, or from conducting any other credit activities that don’t require a credit check. 

Can You Place A Credit Freeze In Canada?

Yes, you can place a credit freeze in Canada, however, you can only do so in one province: Quebec. Despite the 218% increase in fraud in Canada between early 2020 and early 2021, most Canadian provinces and territories haven’t introduced legislation for credit freezes. 

How To Place A Credit Freeze In Quebec

Thanks to the Credit Assessment Agents Act (Bill 53), as of February 1, 2023 credit freezes in Quebec are available. Quebecers will be able to place a credit freeze (aka credit lock) for free with both credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax.

To place a credit freeze, a consumer must do so with both Equifax and TransUnion individually.  

How To Place A Credit Freeze In Equifax? 

You can place a credit lock through your Equifax account, by phone or mail. 

OnlineLog in 
Phone1-866-828-5961
By MailSend this form to
Equifax Canada Co.
National Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 190
Montreal, Quebec H1S 2Z2

To place a lock on your credit, you can do so by simply signing into your Equifax account and follow these steps:

  1. Click the “Manage a lock” in the menu bar on the left under “credit report”.
  2. You’ll then be redirected to credit lock page. Then click the big button “lock”.
  3. You’ll be asked to confirm that you truly wish to lock your file. Confirm by clicking the “lock” button.
  4. You’ll be done and redirected back to the dashboard.
Credit lock

How To Place A Credit Freeze In TransUnion? 

You can place a lock on your file by logging into your online TransUnion account, by calling or by mailing TransUnion. 

OnlineLog in 
Phone 1-800-663-9980
By MailTransUnion Canada
P.O Box 338, LCD1
Hamilton, Ontario L8L 7W2

How To Remove A Credit Freeze? 

  • TransUnion – To remove a credit freeze through TransUnion, you can do so online by visiting ocs.transunion.ca. You can also request the removal of a credit freeze on your credit report by contacting Transunion by phone or mail. 
  • Equifax – You can remove a credit freeze by accessing your online account. You can also call Equifax or mail them to request the removal of your credit freeze. 

Benefits Of A Credit Freeze In Canada

A credit freeze is an easy process that offers many benefits:

A Credit Freeze Protects You From Fraud

A credit freeze makes it difficult for someone to fraudulently create a credit account in your name. For example, if an imposter pretending to be you applies for a loan, the lender will not be able to access your credit information when they try to conduct a credit check.  And, without that important credit information, a lender will likely not lend or authorize a new credit account to that fraudulent individual. 

Free Of Charge

While a credit freeze is not available across Canada, it is available and free in Quebec. To comply with the Credit Assessment Agents Act, both credit bureaus in Canada are now legally required to offer credit freezes to Quebecers free of charge. 

No Expiry

Once you successfully request a credit freeze, you can rest easy. Credit freezes don’t expire, so they remain in effect until you decide to lift them. 

Doesn’t Affect Your Credit Scores

Credit freezes don’t hurt your credit scores, or your ability to use your current credit accounts. A credit freeze may help protect your credit scores as it helps stop individuals from opening and using any credit accounts under your name.

Helps You Practice Restraint In Spending

A credit freeze might help you think twice before applying for a third, fourth, or fifth credit card. The time it takes you to lift the freeze might give you time to reconsider an impulsive decision. 

Drawbacks Of A Credit Freeze In Canada

Make sure you consider all the drawbacks of a credit freeze before taking action. 

No Guarantee

Credit freezes aren’t guaranteed to be 100% effective in preventing scammers from opening new credit accounts in your name. Additionally, credit freezes don’t help you protect credit accounts that are already open in your name.  

Must Contact Each Credit Bureau

You must get in touch with each credit bureau to not only request a credit freeze but also to lift or delete the freeze. 

Requires Planning For The Future 

Credit freezes require planning. If you are thinking about opening a new credit account, such as a mortgage or credit card, you’ll have to plan for extra time in requesting a lift on the freeze. 

Other Ways To Protect Yourself From Fraud

If you’re a Canadian and want to protect yourself from fraud, there are other actions you can take. 

Sign Up For Fraud Alerts

You can sign up for fraud alerts with either TransUnion or Equifax. Equifax also offers an Identity Alert, which requires lenders to call you before offering credit after a credit check. Both bureaus allow you to request alerts via phone, online, or email. 

If a lender sees a fraud alert on a potential borrower’s credit file, they are legally obligated to take reasonable steps in verifying someone’s identity before lending them money.

Protect Your Personal Information

Don’t overshare personal information like your birth date, address, or family members’ names on social media. Additionally, safeguard your personal information, especially if you have acquaintances or strangers in your home. 

Begin Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring is similar to a fraud alert. Credit monitoring notifies you if there are any changes to your credit reports. Although you can monitor your credit reports by manually examining them on your own, credit monitoring helps you remember, and encourages you to check when it matters. This helps give you a push in checking your credit accounts for the alerted change and helps you catch fraudulent activity early. 

Some changes you might be alerted of include:

Credit monitoring isn’t a fool-proof preventative measure to identify theft. Before applying for credit monitoring, remember its limitations:

  • Information isn’t guaranteed to be safe from data breaches
  • No alert for someone withdrawing money from bank accounts
  • Doesn’t warn you of potentially fraudulent tax activity
  • Doesn’t freeze your credit
  • Doesn’t stop phishing emails

Review Your Transactions

Go through your credit card bills each month to find any unfamiliar transactions. Additionally, make sure you call your creditor immediately if you don’t receive your bill. This is often a sign of fraud since fraudsters may try to change contact information to hide their activities.

Bottom Line

While credit freezes are only available to Canadians living in Quebec, there are still several alternatives to protect yourself from identity theft. From fraud alerts to generally monitoring your credit report, these can help protect your credit from identity theft.

Credit Freeze In Canada FAQs

Do credit freezes protect you from fraud?

Credit freezes are a great preventative measure for people who suspect they might be a victim of fraud. However, a freeze doesn’t guarantee that no element of fraud will take place. For example, a credit freeze doesn’t stop a fraudster from using your existing credit accounts.

How much do credit freezes cost?

It is free to place a credit freeze on your credit report in Quebec.

Does Canada plan to introduce legislation for credit freezes soon?

Aside from Quebec, Canada and the provinces and territories haven’t offered any updated plans to require credit bureaus to offer freezes in Canada.

Will a credit freeze affect my credit score?

No, placing a credit freeze on your credit report has no effect on your credit score.
Chrissy Kapralos avatar on Loans Canada
Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

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