Posted by genieSABRE on Mar 12, 2012
Identity Theft and your SIN number

Identity Theft and your SIN number

Source: Hannif Highclass
Publish:MY BLOG: Toronto Real Estate: March 09, 2012

Should You or Should You Not Give Out Your SIN

When you visit your Mortgage Broker or Banker for the first time to obtain a mortgage pre-approval, there are certain documents and information you will be asked to provide so your mortgage application can be completed.

Here is a short list of what will be needed

  • Pay stub and job letter: The mortgage amount that you will qualify on is based on how much income you make. Therefore, to get the best estimate of your gross annual income possible, you should bring your pay stub and job letter with you to your pre-approval meeting.
  • Social insurance number: Lenders also take your credit score into consideration when qualifying you for a mortgage, since your credit score is an indication of how well you repay your obligations. In order to look at your credit history, your mortgage broker will need your social insurance number.
  • Previous address information: In addition to your social insurance number, your mortgage broker also needs a three-year residence history. This is to make sure that your mortgage broker isn’t obtaining credit for the wrong person.
  • Driver’s license: Mortgage fraud is becoming a problem, so your broker will probably request that you have your driver’s license as a primary form of identification.
  • Know your down payment source and amount: Knowing your down payment amount and where it is coming from (savings, a gift, etc.) will allow your mortgage broker to more accurately pre-qualify you, since certain mortgage products require you to put a certain amount of money as a down payment. Also, some lenders restrict what source you can use for your down payment, especially if you’re self-employed.
  • An idea of your price range: If you know approximately how much you’d like to pay for a home in Calgary, your mortgage broker will be able to tell you (unofficially) if that amount is feasible, or possibly if you qualify for a larger loan amount than you thought.


What you have you worry about is the Social Insurance Number “SIN Card” asked for!”

The Commissioner isn’t too fond of using SINs on mortgage applications. Her office put out a report June 8 that states: A “SIN is not required to conduct a credit check.”

“There is no legislative requirement for the SIN to be collected for [mortgage purposes].” “The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is of the view that the SIN should not be used as a general identifier and organizations should restrict the collection, use and disclosure of the SIN to legislated purposes only.”

Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Denham explains:

“We recommend that no private sector organization request the social insurance number from a customer, and that no customer give the social insurance number to a private-sector organization, unless the organization is required by law to request it.”

According to the Canadian Bankers Association, there is “nothing specifically legislated that requires banks to ask for a SIN for mortgage purposes.” “Specifically” seems to be the key word, however.

Lenders, in general, like to see SINs on mortgage applications. As CAAMP’s VP of Education and Professional Affairs, Mark Webb, notes: “Lenders ask for the SIN but the client has no obligation to provide it. If the client refuses then it is up to the lender to assess how they will respond to the application.”

From a practical consumer standpoint, the underlying question should be: is the person taking your SIN trustworthy and does he/she store clients’ information in an extremely secure manner. If so, then many feel that SINs should continue to be an essential fraud-prevention tool. Another consideration in the equation might be that some lenders won’t want to be working with you if you withhold your SIN information. So what are you going to do if you really want or need that loan?

The onus is on you!

Tips to protect your Social Insurance Number

  • Don’t carry your SIN card with you. Store it safely (for example, in a secure filing cabinet at home, or in a safety deposit box).
  • Never use your SIN card as a piece of identification. Doing so puts your SIN and personal information at risk.
  • Don’t provide your SIN over the phone unless you make the call and you know with whom you are dealing.
  • Never reply to e-mails that ask for personal information like your SIN.
  • Protect your personal information and your SIN. For example:
  1. shred paper records with personal information once you no longer need them;
  2. use confidential passwords that contain a combination of upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, and symbols;
  3. never use automatic log-in features that save user names and passwords on your computer; and
  4. use a personal firewall and anti-virus software on your computer system.

When should you provide your Social Insurance Number?

You usually need to provide your SIN:

  • to your employer
  • for income-tax purposes
  • to financial institutions where you are earning interest or income
  • to receive Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), or Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ) benefits
  • to receive Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
  • to set up a Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) or a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • to receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit
  • to receive Canada Student Loans
  • for goods and services tax (GST)⁄harmonized sales tax (HST) claims
  • to receive social-assistance benefits
  • for veterans’ benefits and programs
  • to receive Workers Compensation benefits
  • to receive child-support payments

When should you NOT provide your SIN?

In some situations, private-sector organizations may ask you to provide your SIN. Please note that, although this practice is strongly discouraged, it is not illegal.

Examples of when you do not have to provide your Social Insurance Number or show your card:proving your identity (except for specific government programs)

  • completing a job application (before you get the job)
  • completing an application to rent a property
  • negotiating a lease with a landlord
  • completing a credit-card application
  • cashing a cheque
  • applying for a video-club membership
  • completing some banking transactions (mortgage, line of credit, loan)
  • completing a medical questionnaire
  • renting a car
  • subscribing to a long-distance or cellular telephone service
  • writing a will (in Quebec, it is not mandatory to provide a SIN)
  • applying to a university or college

Your Social Insurance Number:

A Shared Responsibility! Protect it! Safeguard it!

WEB See the Web site for more information on how to contact Service Canada and access the full range of Government of Canada programs and services.


A Service Canada Centre
To find the Centre nearest you, visit our Web site, or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a teletypewriter (TTY), please call 1-800-926-9105.


Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
P.O. Box 7000
Bathurst, New Brunswick E2A 4T1



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