Tam Kanhai was hoping to own her new home by now but says her identity was stolen, and her plans to buy the house she is now living in are on hold.
“When we went in the approval never went through because there was new problems with my credit history,” she said on Wednesday.
Kanhai said a credit check came back showing that she owed more than $2,000 on a cellphone that she didn’t have and her mortgage wasn’t approved.
She doesn’t know how her identity was stolen.
“I never did any online anything. I don’t shop on Amazon, I don’t shop online. I’ve always been really careful if … you go onto a website and they ask for your credit card information on there,” Kanhai said.
“It feels like a violation cause I don’t know what else I could have done. I don’t know how much more careful I can be.”
Kanhai’s dilemma comes amid a pattern of increasing fraud cases in Saskatoon.
According to the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS), identity theft and fraud increased in the city, from 189 incidents in 2014 up to more than 400 last year.
One cyber security expert warns that identity fraud can be committed with information often used with online profiles.
“Security and privacy are kind of separate things,” said Chester Wisniewski, a Vancouver-based researcher with Sophos, a cyber security firm.
“Generally these platforms are reasonably secure but they have a terrible track record for privacy. So you have to assume anything you can share online is going to be made either public or semi-public.”
Saskatoon police urge people to be conscious of where they are giving their information.
“Making sure you’re aware of what you’ve signed up for, where that information is going, what that service is doing with that information,” SPS spokesperson Kelsie Fraser said.
According to Kanhai, it could take up to four months to get her credit history straightened out.
She said she’s counting down the days until she can get her house and her life back in order.