Identity thief obtains $30,000 tax return and Canada Pension Plan payments of Ottawa lawyer by devious means

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

Ottawa (July 23, 2019) –An Ottawa lawyer became the victim of an identity thief. Using the lawyer’s identity and social insurance number, the fraudster opened a bank account with Scotiabank in Montreal, filed a tax return, changed the direct deposit information online and redirected the 65-year-old lawyer’s Canada Pension Plan payments to the new bank account.

When the fraudster changed the direct deposit information with the tax agency, he checked a box online that instructs the CRA to share his new banking information with Service Canada. So, his Canada Pension Plan payments were automatically redirected.

This is the second local resident to describe a similar incident in recent weeks, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Both were clients of the accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. As a consequence, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is collaborating with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to investigate the dozen cases of identity theft-related tax fraud in which their clients’ personal information was utilized. The firm engaged an independent investigator, who found no data security breaches. To avoid further fraudulent returns, the CRA is currently considering new security procedures to address these issues. The CRA ensures that taxpayers cannot be held accountable when a tax agency investigation confirms that a tax return was generated using a bogus return.

The Ottawa lawyer discovered the identity theft because he received a notification by the CRA that his bank account information had been changed online. The CRA strongly recommends taxpayers to sign up for security alerts online, that inform individuals about changes in their account like address or direct deposit information. The lawyer was lucky, he caught the incident early. This way, the CRA could recover the $30,000 and Service Canada has compensated him for the missed payment. Nevertheless, he wants to see the thief arrested and prosecuted.