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Can You Change Your SIN? How to Apply for a New SIN (and Why You Shouldn’t)

Posted by Alex Longval · 1197 words

 

Can you change your Social Insurance Number (SIN)? Should you apply for a new SIN? How? What else can you do if you suspect someone is using your SIN?

 

With recent financial data breaches (Capital One, Desjardins, and Equifax) exposing many millions of SINs, these are good questions to ask. Here are the answers from the Government of Canada's website.

 

Can You Change Your SIN?

Not really.

 

But you can apply for a new SIN “only if you can prove that your SIN was used fraudulently.” Examples of proof include fraudulent credit card applications using your name and SIN, and T4 employment records (from the CRA) that list employers that you have not worked for.

 

However, getting a new SIN doesn’t technically change your SIN because your old SIN can still be used by fraudsters. As a result, you will still need to monitor usage of your old SIN.

 

Should You Apply for a New SIN?

Probably not. Here are three reasons not to apply for a new SIN.

 

1. A new Social Insurance Number does not protect you from fraud and identity theft.

 

A new Social Insurance Number is not a fresh start or protection from fraud or identity theft.

 

If someone else uses your old Social Insurance Number and the business does not check the person’s identity, you may have to prove you were not involved in the fraud or pay the impostor’s debts.

 

2. A new Social Insurance Number is a complex affair.

 

The Government can only share your new Social Insurance Number with the federal departments and agencies that use your Social Insurance Number.

 

This means that it would be up to you to provide your new Social Insurance Number to all the financial institutions, creditors, pension providers, recent and current employers, and any other organizations with which you shared your old Social Insurance Number.

 

Not doing or failing to do so properly risks not receiving benefits or leaves the door open to subsequent fraud or identity theft.

 

3. You double your monitoring efforts with two Social Insurance Numbers instead of one.

 

A new Social Insurance Number does not erase your old Social Insurance Number. You would therefore need to monitor your accounts and credit reports for both Social Insurance Numbers on a regular and ongoing basis. This would put burden on you. Numerous Social Insurance Numbers multiply the risk of fraud.”

 

How Can You Get a New SIN?

If you have proof that someone else is using your SIN, and you wish to get a new SIN, you must first file a complaint with the police.

 

You will then need to apply for a new SIN at a Service Canada Office.

 

If you suspect someone is using your SIN to fraudulently work, you will need to bring:

 

  • “A printout of all the employers who issued a T4 slip for your SIN over the past 3 years. This printout can be obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281. Check for any employers for whom you have not worked. Service Canada will contact them on your behalf.
  • A clear photograph of yourself for every employer for whom you did not work. Photographs make it easier for a Service Canada official to confirm with the employer(s) that you didn't work for them.
  • A list of every address where you lived over the last 10 years.
  • Proof that you have filed a complaint with the police. This can be either the case reference number along with the officer's name and their telephone number or a copy of the police report if you obtained one.”

 

If you suspect someone is using your SIN to fraudulently obtain credit, you will need to bring:

 

  • “A copy of the credit application filled in by someone else who used your SIN. This application must show both your name and your SIN.
  • A letter from a creditor confirming that someone else used your name and SIN to apply for credit. This letter must include both your name and SIN and state that you are not responsible for any purchases made fraudulently using your information.
  • Proof that you have filed a complaint with the police. This can be either the case reference number along with the officer's name and their telephone number or a copy of the police report if you obtained one.”

 

What Else You Should Do If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your SIN

  1. “File a complaint with the police. Ask for the case reference number and the officer's name and telephone number. If you choose to obtain a copy of the police report, make sure it states your name and SIN.
  2. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The national anti-fraud call centre is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Competition Bureau Canada. They provide advice and assistance about identity theft.
  3. Call Canada's 2 national credit bureaus. Ask for a copy of your credit report. Review it for any suspicious activity. Also check to see if your credit file should be flagged (fees may be applicable). To obtain additional information regarding fees and other requirements, please contact:
    • Equifax: 1-800-465-7166
    • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980 (for residents of Quebec: 1-877-713-3393)
  4. Inform your bank and creditors by phone and in writing about any irregularities.
  5. Report any irregularities in your mail delivery to Canada Post, for example, opened envelopes, missing financial statements or documents.
  6. Visit a Service Canada Office and bring all the necessary documents with you proving fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also bring an original identity document (your birth certificate, or immigration or citizenship document). One of our officials will review your information and provide you with assistance and guidance.”

Learn more about protecting your SIN on the Government of Canada website.

 

What Next?

Having a lost SIN is a large burden, but it’s not the end of the world. Monitor your credit accounts and tax files carefully, file your taxes early, and act quickly if you notice fraud to minimize harm.

 

Bluink is minimizing the threat of lost SINs by providing eID-Me, secure and convenient identity verification, to financial institutions. This should make it easier to verify the identity of customers, allowing financial institutions to reduce their reliance on SIN numbers as proof of identity.

 

eID-Me is launching on iOS and Android this fall. We need your help to shape eID-Me and the future of digital identity.

 

Join eID-Me Members now for limited-time testing opportunities, insider updates, group discussions, eID-Me Beta access, and more: eID-Me.com/join.

 

 

Related:

ID Verification Funds Data Breaches - How Banks Should Verify Identity