Wednesday, May 24, 2017 4:32 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction
It isn’t often that Highway 407 plays a vital role in uncovering a severe case of identity theft, but here we are. On April 28, Tara Douglas, a teacher from Bradford, received an invoice for travel on the tolled expressway for a trip she never took in a car that wasn’t hers.
The express toll route, which runs eastwards across the GTA from Burlington to Whitby, is a major artery, here at Absolute Destruction know well. It offers a convenient way to skip over rush hour traffic found on the 403, QEW, and the Gardiner as long as you’re willing to pay a small fee.
If you’ve used it before, you know your licence plate is photographed when you merge and exit the highway. A couple of weeks after your trip, you receive an invoice billing the time you spent driving along the 407.
When Douglas opened up her bill, she noticed the licence plate didn’t match up to any of the cars she drives. She went to a Service Ontario to dispute the charges only to find out the car that was photographed was a black Range Rover that was registered under her licence. Unfortunately for Douglas, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
After removing the SUV from her licence, the Service Ontario representative directed Douglas to Barrie Police Services. In opening an investigation, the officers assigned to her case uncovered her identity was compromised. A woman had managed to steal her personal information, including Douglas’ social insurance number, in order to purchase multiple cars and cell phones as well as open credit card accounts and loans in her name. Her credit report revealed the thief had racked up between $1,000 and $5,000 in charges on each credit card, but it was the $60,000 loan that had Douglas’ heart rate soaring.
Thankfully, the 407 ETR invoice tipped her off, so Douglas can start repairing the damages done to her credit score. The credit bureaus as well as her banks have flagged her accounts and adjusted the way they manage her profile. Meanwhile Douglas has confirmed her mail isn’t being diverted, but there’s still a long way to go to recover her good name.
Though it’s possible to repair a credit rating, prevention is always the easier and more effective route. There’s no better way to prevent identity theft than to make sure your personal information is untouchable. Remember, all a thief needs to open fraudulent accounts is your name, date of birth, and SIN.
To make sure this information is never shared with the wrong person, use our residential shredding services to eliminate any financial record, tax return, or physical document that carries this data. Our NAID-certified practices and processes guarantee absolute destruction, just like our name. Once we feed your papers through the blades of our mobile trucks, there’s no way any thief can retrieve your personal information.
We also recommend you check your credit report regularly and read your financial statements carefully. This way, you can catch any unusual activity early and avoid having to rely on a shocking invoice to alert you of any criminal activity. Don’t be like Douglas. If you’re ready to protect your identity, give us a call.