Tag Archives: fraud

Lots Of Financial News In Just a Week!

Canadian banks are kind of ashamed they’re Canadian. Bank of Nova Scotia is now Scotiabank, Toronto Dominion is TD, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been CIBC for a long time, and the Bank of Montreal is BMO.

Last week, the Royal Bank went on a huge wave across the country to replace all their branch signs to read: RBC Royal Bank. The next wave will be to do away with the Royal Bank part altogether. Oh how I want to be in the sign business. In Canada it’s cool to be Canadian, but in the rest of the world, they don’t want to advertise that at all.

The RCMP in BC want to get the word out on a new phone/credit card scam. The crooks already have your stolen credit card number and give you a lot of information to put you at ease. All they’re after is the three digit security code and they can go crazy with online purchases. It’s the last and only thing they ask for, claiming they just need to “verify that you’re the cardholder.” Don’t ever talk to anyone about your credit card. Hang up the phone and dial only the number on the back of your card! Here’s the link from the RCMP:

Last week, CBC’s Marketplace did a short story on breakfast sandwiches. They’re loaded with fat, get you two-thirds of the daily sodium and a ton of calories. But here’s an alternative diet plan: Last week, New Hampshire just rolled out new scratch and win lottery tickets. They are now bacon flavoured. So grab your coffee and just sniff the lottery ticket. You’ll still lose, but you’ll win on the calories, fat, and sodium reduced breakfast!

Also last week, TD rolled out a ton more new ATM machines. These ones are optical readers. Just insert the cheque or cash you’re depositing. No more envelopes and you don’t even need to key in the amount of the cheque. Your receipt will print out a picture of the cheque you deposited. It was only last year we talked about taking a picture of a cheque with your smartphone and it’s deposited. Boy, how technology is advancing quickly.

The middle of last week, the Bank of Canada cut the bank rate by a quarter of a point. We’re a resource country and they’re seriously concerned with our economy with oil dropping by almost 50%. Within 24-hours, the banks cut most of their savings accounts interest rates by a quarter point. But they also announced that, no – they’re not cutting their lending or mortgage rates. So savers get ripped off and borrowers get hosed in order to make another few billion dollars. NOT nice and not right!

Identity Theft: It was almost like being raped!

That was a newspaper headline from the Edmonton Journal. Yes, sensationalism sells, but this time, the quote was accurate and justified.

The story was about a young lady from Edmonton, who had her wallet stolen out of her car, and became a victim of identity theft.

When her wallet was stolen four months earlier she has simply called her credit card company to cancel her card and also had her drivers’ license replaced. But that was just the beginning of her nightmare of identity theft.

Along the way, she was actually investigated for fraud, and went through a virtual hell in having her bank accounts cleaned out. She discovered her identity theft while trying to make a purchase at Walmart. When she used her debit card, the cashier told her no, there wasn’t sufficient money. She tried her credit card next, and it was also declined.

When she called her bank from the parking lot, they asked her if she had just opened a new account at another branch? No, she hadn’t. But someone had, and used her identity. It got worse, since the crook deposited empty envelopes in the ATM machines, and stole another $10,000 out of her accounts from these phony deposits, off this new and fraudulent account.

The credit bureau wouldn’t help her on the phone, and I’m stunned she was even able to reach a human being at Equifax Canada. The only thing they told her was that SHE was now under investigation for fraud.

Then came the calls from the collections departments of Esso and Shell, Home Hardware and Sears, the financed van, and more – none of which were hers. And that was in between the trips to the police station and banks. All in all, the crooks used her identify to run up more than $100,000 in charges. The lenders and banks absorbed the losses, but you have to believe that a break-in at home would be less scary or frightening than identity theft.

As this lady found out, studies have shown that it takes an average of more than 30 to 150 hours of work for someone who has been a victim of identity theft. And that doesn’t include the anger, fear, credit hassles, and psychological trauma.

Oh, and one more thing that you probably don’t want to hear: It didn’t apply to this lady, but the vast majority of identity theft is committed by someone you know. While you can’t entirely prevent identity theft, you can take some easy steps to make your odds pretty tiny:

-Do not give anyone your PIN numbers
-Don’t use the same PIN number everywhere, and do change it every six months or so
-Have as little ID as you need in your wallet. You do NOT need your Social Insurance -Number in your wallet every day, and don’t need all your credit and debit cards with you every hour of every day
-Do not leave any I.D. in your car – ever.
-Empty your mailbox every day. Junk mail or credit card mailers have a lot of information on them
-Get a shredder. Do not put your personal information in your garbage.
-Check your credit report. You are entitled to a free report once a year. Pay for it if you need it more often to see if there is something weird happening
-Know your credit card statement dates. If it doesn’t show up, make the call. It may have been re-directed by the crooks
-Always check the transactions on your credit card and bank statements
-Never give out personal information on the phone or on an e-mail

And if you have been a victim of identity theft, your first visit is to the police station to file a report. No matter who it was, if you know, you will be liable if you do not file the report. Don’t protect a crooked friend or relative, because you will be liable if you haven’t taken the first step of proving these were not your transactions.

Identity Theft: The Fastest Growing Crime in North America

During a typical traffic stop, an Edmonton police officer questioned the legitimacy of a woman’s drivers’ license. It was just a lucky traffic stop that started to really unravel for an alleged identity theft ring.

The police ended up finding computer files with more than 30,000 credit card files, stolen passports, birth certificates and a ton of other stolen identities.

Yes, it was two women who were arrested and according to the police, it’s often women involved in identity thefts. After all, it isn’t violent, it’s working from home and isn’t about a gun – just a computer.

There are actually web sites, just like E-bay where you can bid on stolen personal information and buy stolen credit cards. The crooks will even give you one for a test to prove that they’re legitimate crooks.

In fact, it’s a huge volume game, as well as the fastest growing white-collar crime in North America. You can buy a stolen credit card for under a buck and a full set of identification right down to mothers’ maiden name and debit card PIN number is around $20 bucks. Isn’t that sick?

I can assure you, I could talk about identity theft for an hour or more, but here’s a few things to remember:

The vast majority of identity theft involves someone you know. If you find out, call the police. Do not minimize it, cover it, ignore it or try to explain it away. It’s robbery – pure and simple.

Get a shredder. Never throw out personal information of any kind, especially offers from credit card companies with applications on them, your bank statements, convenience cheques or anything with your name and address on it.

Don’t carry your social insurance card or a bunch of extra credit cards in your wallet. You’re a half hour away from home and don’t need half the stuff you have in your wallet or purse. It’s not worth the risk of theft. Treat that stuff like you would treat your cash.

Don’t give out personal information unless it’s a legitimate application. And 90% of the time, that’s not the case. Ask why they need it and use your head.

And don’t respond to e mails from Paypal, Amazon, brokerage firms or banks asking to update your information. They’re phishing e-mails sent by crooks looking for your personal information. None of those places will ever e mail you with that type of request.

Repeat after me: Don’t press reply!