Data shows that there was 23842 reports to the Canadian Anti-fraud Center between March 6, 2020 and June 30, 2021. $7.6 million estimated attributable financial losses. 22800 reports officially open and nearly 40% of all these files in Quebec.
Since the start of the pandemic and the creation of the Canada Emergency Benefits Program (CEP) in March 2020, the Government of Canada has been the victim of one of the largest frauds in its history. The fraudsters took advantage of the Canadian emergency benefits during the pandemic.
The fraudsters impersonated thousands of honest citizens and received $2,000 check from EI and the Canada Revenue Agency
The following was found during the investigation:
- Desjardins data breach helped fraudsters in Quebec;
- Equifax and TransUnion protection measures offered to Desjardins victims were not necessary;
- An important security issue that was supposed to identify the PKU applicant (see another text);
- There are few police investigations.
- Thousands of fraudulent citizens are fighting to settle their cases (To read tomorrow);
- Ottawa is struggling to assess the extent of the fraud.
Feed the Desjardins the Beast
The 16 victims our FBI interviewed were all Desjardins agents and their data was lost during the June 2019 leak. For background information, a former employee of a financial institution is suspected of stealing the information of 9.7 million members. Then the data ended up in the hands of criminals.
Data has shown that in Canada, nearly 40% of victims were from Quebec, according to data from the Canadian Anti-fraud Center.
Unlike private credit applications, Equifax and TransUnion protection measures offered to Desjardins victims do not report fraud related to government benefits.
Analysts consulted also confirmed the links between PCU fraud and this leak.
However, the financial institution refuses to take the blame.
Jean-Benoit Turcotti, company spokesperson, wrote via email “It is very difficult and risky to make a direct link between identity theft and the state of personal information in Desjardins. […] Several organizations have also announced the leak of personal information.”
“Desjardins is the largest security breach in the country and in Quebec. This is the data that contains everything you need to commit fraud,” said Patrick Mathieu, an information security expert.
Nearly all of the files have been transferred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which has little interest in issues unrelated to organized crime.
In Montreal, the police department starting an investigation despite having submitted more than 1,000 files to it. Apparently, police only investigate if the investigation can be easily resolved. Police noted that the perpetrators of these crimes are well organized, they take advantage of loopholes,” notes Stefan Roel, an investigatory lieutenant with SPVQ. As a result, many victims decided not to report.
For this reason, the Quebec secretariat will not release the number of complaints received as it would not represent the reality.
The Government of Canada still advises victims of ECP fraud to make a statement at their local police station.
“We will continue to investigate large-scale fraud and those related to organized crime, while relevant police services will provide support for local investigations,” said Sgt. Caroline Duval of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The victims were surprised
The victims are left to fend for themselves, knowing that few fraudsters will pay for these crimes.
SQ recently conducted searches in Ruan Noranda to break up a network of scammers. This article was originally sourced by Vaughan Today.