Your Guide to Avoid Online Scams in 2021

A new year is a time for new beginnings, but unfortunately, it is also a new year for fraudsters to ramp up their cybercrime acts and commit online scams. Senior officials from top scam detection and cybersecurity agencies in Canada have banded together to warn Canadians about an impending rise in online scams especially for the first part of 2021.

Warnings Issued

Senior officials added that reports from victims are likely to go down as people are beginning to take further precautions, but this does not mean that the cases will go down as well.

CAFC or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre senior intelligence analyst Jeff Thomson shared in an interview that was an increase in 2020 scam reporting and that the schemes ranged from soliciting social security information, job scams, to merchandise scams. He adds that they expect this trend to continue in 2021, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a huge factor for the proliferation of online scams.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security head Scott Jones agrees with the above, saying that fraudsters are making use of what’s hot in the news to sway people’s emotion. Wisth more people looking for jobs, fake job scams and fake job websites are bound to increase.

What Scams to Expect?

Thomson said that phishing scam emails are the most prolific from either spoofed email accounts or compromised email accounts. He warns that any suspicious emails should be avoided even if it seems to be coming from someone you know.

Another expected scam is vaccine fraud for when vaccines become more available. There may be people trying to see or guarantee access to them for a fee.

In view of this, the CAFC issued a warning about private companies who may try to sell fraudulent products promising to cure or prevent COVID-19 as well as home vaccination kits. Some COVID-19 emails also contain malicious attachments that trick people into revealing their financial details and other personal information.

Avoid Scams in 3 Steps: Recognize, Reject, Report

Thomson emphasizes that scammers will use any avenue possible to execute scams. They can use text messages, emails, phone calls, social media, romance or dating sites, classified ads, and so on. He adds that people should recognize that anyone can receive these solicitations and that rejecting requests like this is fine. He further says that being too polite or getting intimidated by urgent or high-pressure sales tactics and requests can make you more vulnerable to scams. It is best to scrutinize requests and refrain from responding impulsively.

Better and Safer Online Behavior from Canadians

Jones shared that the Cyber Security Centre focuses on easy-to-understand awareness campaigns that are straight to the point, citing their commercial on listening to one’s voice of reason as one of their most effective campaigns because it goes back to the basic and simple thing that anybody can do. Other things that work include changing passwords frequently, practicing safe online habits, and using two-factor authentication. They plan to release a cybersecurity guide for small and medium-sized businesses as part of their 2021 campaign as well as teaching children cyber hygiene.

Thomson also shares that Canadians are more likely to report scams after their awareness campaigns in 2020. He adds that the more people report, the more they can be aware of new scams and the earlier they can issue the necessary warnings.

Looking for ways to avoid COVID-19 related scams and other online scams? Familiarize yourself with new scams at our fraud prevention blog! If you’ve been targeted for a scam and worried about your privacy, contact us so we can discuss possible solutions for you using our private investigation services.

 

Infidelity Statistics for 2020. Do Women or Men Cheat More?

Finding out that your partner is cheating hurts to the core and it may feel like you’ve got the worse luck in love, but the fact is that, around 25% of those who are married and around 40% of those in other romantic relationships experience at least one incident of cheating. In fact, a survey published in an issue of Marriage and Divorce says that 70% of all Americans get involved in some kind of affair at least once during their marriage. These numbers are no doubt, shocking. What makes them engage in infidelity? Is infidelity the norm these days? Find answers and insights on the latest infidelity statistics shared below.

Infidelity Statistics, Comparing 2018 and 2019

According to statistics for both 2018 and 2019, men are more likely to cheat than women as supported by the data from the recent General Social Survey which says that 13% of women and 20% of men admitted to having sex with someone who is not their spouse while married.  This is not a new finding, as the trend for the past 2 decades says that the total number of cheating has largely remained the same. What’s new, though, is that there has been a 40% increase in the number of women cheating. Male infidelity remains steady and the survey says more men cheat than women. Sexual dissatisfaction is the main reason for cheating in most cases except for those who were cheating online. According to a study by YouGov, apps and online dating has been making it easier for people to cheat. The study adds that men are 3X more likely to use dating sites and apps for casual sex than women and that approximately 1 in every 6 people in dating apps are using the app to cheat on their relationship.

Which Gender Cheats More?

Although men are still cheating more than women, recent data from a survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago says that the gender pattern is changing. The younger the respondents are, the higher the percentage of women who have cheated (a difference of 2.9% between women who are 18 to 24 vs women older than 65) and the opposite is true for men.

What Ages Cheat More?

As can be seen above, age is another factor in infidelity. Both men and women experience a surge in infidelity during their middle ages. For men, this peaks between 51 and 59, with 31% saying they have cheated around this age although older than 60 is catching up. For women, older statistics say that they peak at infidelity of 18% between 40 and 49 although now that is shifting to between 50-59. Respondents in their 70’s and 80’s tend to cheat less but the infidelity rate for men is still at 24-26%, 18% higher than the numbers for women.

Are Beliefs and Religion A Factor in Cheating?

It seems that following a faith makes people cheat less. Those who attend church more are less likely to cheat although no specific religion stands out for faithfulness.

Does Family History and Background Play a Role in Cheating?

18% of the respondents who did not grow up with both parents cheated compared to 13% amongst those who grew up with both parents whether the parents are adoptive or biological.

Do Cheaters Tell Their Partner?

According to a survey conducted in Michigan, 52.1% of their respondents who cheated came clean to their partner about their cheating while 47.9% admitted to cheating to a person other than their partner. For those who told their partners, 47.7% told their partner within a week while 26.6% fessed up within a month and 25.7% took 6 months or longer. Of those who told their partner about them cheating, 54.5% broke up immediately and 15.6% are still together.

Are Divorcees More Likely to Cheat?

The Institute of Family Studies says that 40% of those who cheated on their new spouse has been divorced in the past. Only 17% of those who were faithful were separated or divorced. 76% of divorcees who never cheated remarried while 50% of divorcees with a history of cheating remarried. More men than women who cheated remarried again.

How Prevalent is Same-Sex Cheating in Bisexual and Heterosexual Couples?

You might think that this is unlikely to happen but according to the study published in Evolutionary Psychology journal, 2.9% of those who cheated on their partners were attracted to both sexes equally and may have cheated with same-sex partners. Additionally, 33% of male respondents claimed they would tolerate their female partner cheating with another woman while only 22% of women declared the same. When asked if they would prefer that their partner cheat on them with a same-sex partner, 62.2% of women said that they prefer their man to cheat with a woman rather than a man while 76.4% of men said they prefer their woman to cheat on them with another woman.

Is Emotional Infidelity More Common than Sexual Infidelity?

Studies show that emotional infidelity can be as dangerous as sexual infidelity more so now with the prevalence of dating sites and apps. The University of Wisconsin published a study in Evolutionary Psychology that says men and women have different perceptions regarding emotional infidelity and sexual infidelity. More men find sexual infidelity more upsetting than emotional infidelity and the opposite is true for women. With this said, 73% of women and 56% of men said they would be very upset to find out that their partner had an emotional affair with someone else.

Does One-Night-Stands or Long-Term Cheating Happen More?

Short-term affairs and one-night-stands happen a lot more than long-term affairs. Only 10% of affairs last more than 6 months. 25% last less than a week and 65% end in the first 6 months.

Is Cheating Likely to Recur?

Have you wondered if once a cheater is indeed always a cheater? The answer seems to be yes statistically. A study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior says that those who cheated in the past are 3X more likely to cheat again in a future relationship.

Does Online Infidelity Happen More Than Offline Infidelity?

Various studies say that 3% of all cheating women and 8% of all cheating men found their cheating partners online. 90% of those who cheated online started a new affair as soon as their previous online affair is over.

People from What Careers Cheat More?

Women from the medical and education fields tend to cheat more than women in other fields and men from trades and information technology cheat more than men in other fields.

Do People Cheat with Former Lovers?

People tend to cheat on a new relationship when they want to get back to their former partner. Keep in mind that there is no specific study for people who cheat on a current partner with an ex.

Do Business Trips Play a Role in Cheating?

In a Gleeden survey covering 8,000 respondents, 57% of women and 62% of men admitted to having an affair when they are away on business. 53% of the men and 27% of the women said the affair was with a co-worker.

What Are the Main Reasons for Cheating?

44% of men who cheated said they do it because they wanted more sex while 40% of men said they wanted more variety in sex. As for the women, 40% said they cheat out of wanting an emotional connection and 33% said they do it to feel that there are still desirable. Interestingly, 11% of women say they do it as an act of revenge.

Do you want answers to know if your relationship is part of the statistics above? We can help investigate a cheating spouse. Contact us if you’re thinking of hiring a private investigator to catch a cheating spouse today.

 

 

Covid-19 Compliance Investigations in Toronto & the GTA

CORPORATE / BUSINESS INVESTIGATIONS

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic still raging across Ontario and all of Canada, it is more important than ever for businesses to follow government health guidelines.

Many businesses have made the decision to allow employees to work remotely, doing there part to help flatten the curve. Although this has been of great importance for the greater public health, it poses a whole new set of challenges for employers. Is the employee actually working at home or are they out do errands during company time? Is your delivery staff following proper protocols while on route? If you have any questions or concerns, we can help. Learn More

Covid-19 Employee Compliance

  • Remote Work Checks Surveillance
  • Work-from-home Compliance Investigations

Covid-19 Surveillance Investigations

Do you have concerns about your employee(s) while they work from home or for your staff while they are making deliveries? Our Surveillance Services Division can investigate to ensure they are being compliant. Learn More

 

FAMILY / PERSONAL INVESTIGATIONS

Covid-19 Joint Custody Compliance Investigations

Do you have shared custody and have concerns about your child’s health while in the care of their other parent? Our Surveillance Services Division can investigate to ensure they are being compliant with such things as “are socially distancing while out in the general public? Are they wearing a mask where they are required to do so? Are they mingling in large groups? Are they attending areas and locations they should not be? These are just a few of the questions we may be able to answer with surveillance. If you have concerns about your child’s well being, we can help! Contact us today. Learn More

Covid-19 Infidelity Investigations

With the Covid-19 pandemic surging, people are spending much more time at home, which can lead to observing behaviours in your partner that you would not have noticed otherwise. Is your partner making excuses to leave the house, even though they are working from home? Have you noticed secretive phone calls and texts? If you have questions, we can help you get the answers. Learn More

We are Ontario’s Most Experienced Surveillance Team

Our Surveillance Services Division (SSD) employs Private Investigators who are specially trained within the area of Surveillance. They will work diligently and professionally to obtain the degree of success proportionate to your specific request(s). The degree of precision, accuracy, and thoroughness needed when engaged in a surveillance detail must never be overlooked.

Surveillance is a form of investigation which consists of keeping a person, place, or vehicle, under physical or technical observation in order to obtain information or evidence pertinent to any investigation. Surveillance can produce accurate, direct and crucial information pertaining to any quandary being experienced.

At Haywood | Hunt & Associates Inc. our clients needs Always Come First.

Anti-Fraud Centre Issues Warning for Holiday Scams Targeting Canadians

Fraudsters and scammers do not rest during the holidays and so officials of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are working with the police overtime to warn Canadians about the 12 common types of holiday fraud in Canada.

Fraud Charities

This is the season for giving and the season for fake charities that solicit help for an organization that does not exist. People are easier to get money from during the holidays and often do not check if charities are legitimate.

Fake Ads for Online Shopping

Some ads post fake products but some ads don’t even have products at all. Nothing will be delivered to you after payment and by then it is way past the deadline for refunds. The ‘store’ can also just claim that your purchase was lost by the courier due to the holiday rush.

Romance Scams

People are more emotionally vulnerable around the holidays and so romance scammers use the holidays to their full advantage. Watch out for people on dating sites who use the holidays to indirectly ask for money by using a sob story.

Raffle Winning Notifications

You cannot win in something that you did not join. That is the first tell-tale sign for this scam. Next is that the fraudsters will ask you to deposit a small amount as a claiming fee for your prize. There is no prize and the personal data that you provided will probably get compromised too.

Phishing Texts and Emails

These may come in the guise of a promo, an ad, or a warning; all wanting you to follow a link and input your details where they can be stolen.

Secret Santa Scam

This comes as a gift exchange opportunity on social media that says you can get many gifts by sponsoring one. Not only does this gain access to your sensitive information but oftentimes, only those at the top are the ones benefiting as far as gifts go.

Fake Merchandise

They’re usually easy to spot with their flashy ads featuring huge discounts that got links to shady websites.

Shady Goods and Services

It is best to exercise caution when buying and selling online, especially when there are offers that seem too good to be true. Some buyers may not pay you or attempt to get your personal information to prove that you’re ‘real’.

Gift Card

Gift cards are an easy way to give a gift but some gift cards may be fake or already used and it will be too late to do anything once found out.

Shocking Emergency

You’ll be called on a fake emergency stating that your loved one is hurt and you must supply their personal details. Another version may ask you for money and your personal details as well.

Identity Fraud

Due to plenty of online shopping and the many crafty ways that scammers can access your personal data, your identity may be used for shady activities. It is best to keep tabs of your credit score and your mail in case you get bills for things you did not purchase or use.

Identity Theft

Your identity can be easily stolen just by a few pieces of information about you such as your social security number, your card, etc. Never share personal information and passwords with anyone.

We hope that with this summary of common holiday scams, you are now better equipped to protect yourself. If you suspect that your details may have been compromised, we can help you fix that and avoid fraud. Contact us today!

 

When Should You Hire a Private Investigator to Catch a Cheating Spouse?

Cheating or infidelity in marriage is one of the leading factors for a divorce. It is one of the most damaging acts that can destroy relationships and trust. If a partner suspects that the other is cheating, things can easily go downhill. The relationship can either end abruptly or end later after numerous fights. So, when is a private investigator needed for instances of cheating or infidelity?

Hiring a private investigator can prove that cheating did occur as well as gather evidence that can be used as evidence in court. More importantly, a private investigator can provide clear answers and give peace of mind to a partner suspecting the other of infidelity.

Do You Need to Hire a Private Eye?

Signs of infidelity are hard to dismiss. One can’t just shake off the feeling that his or her partner is cheating. It creates a big problem even when the other party is not cheating at all because suspicion eats away trust.

You can hire a private investigator for legal reasons when you need hard evidence that can prove cheating in court. A professional private eye knows how to gather data in a legally-admissible way. More so, there are instances when proving cheating can have a significant effect on the outcome of divorce such as when there is a prenuptial agreement with an infidelity clause or if you need to prove that a considerable value of your marital assets was spent on the affair.

Personal reasons are also valid motives to hire a professional private investigator. It can be that you simply want answers for peace of mind. It can also be that you feel that you’re being gaslighted and want out on an abusive and manipulative relationship. In some cases, hiring a private investigator is the logical way to go if both sides of the family are against a possible divorce and you have to defend yourself and prove that an affair is going on. In any case, hiring a private investigator can remove doubts and give you back your sanity.

How to Hire a Private Investigator to Investigate Cheating

The first step is to make the decision that you truly are willing to face what the private eye will uncover. There is no turning back once a professional is hired and the answer may not be what you want to hear nor expect.

Next is to contact a private investigator with a long history of client success and talk to them about what you want to get done. Some technicalities may need to be sorted out (such as legal restrictions) but the right private detective or private investigations firm will be clear with you and will be open to discussing your case before proceeding.

To sum it up, look for experience, ask for licensing information, and ask for a consultation. Choose a professional or a firm that is on the side of the truth and professionalism. Stay away from those who offer false promises and exaggerated claims. Remember that whatever information is uncovered can change your life for better or for worse.

Ready to hire a private investigator to catch a cheating partner? Talk to us and we’ll discuss what we can do for you. We can also investigate if your partner is hiding money and help you get child custody.

 

34% of Canadians Have Fallen Victim to Fraud in 2020

Fraud has become increasingly difficult to avoid these days. According to the 2020 Fraud Survey by CPA Canada, with better access to technology, it seems that we are falling victim to fraud due to unsafe and outdated techniques that are used to protect personal information and other sensitive data.

Fraud in Canada for 2020 and 2019

This year, 5% of Canadians shared that they have been subjected to online fraud, 18% say they are victims of credit card fraud, and 34% admitted to experiencing fraud personally. 45,000 Canadians fell victim to fraud in 2019 according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Together, they lost $96 million but it seems like people have not learned from this and are still using the same outdated and unsafe techniques to protect their data this year. Risk advisor Claudiu Popa of Informatica says that fraud figures are still likely to rise before the year ends.

The survey says that 74% of Canadians bank online and have bought items from web-based retailers in 2019 without using the most secure systems and methods, thereby increasing their risk especially that they are the same group who are heavy users of social media. People who post their activities and details online are highly susceptible to being taken advantage of by fraudsters. More so, fraudsters now know how to infiltrate laptops, smart TVs, home security cameras, and smart locks with just a few key information that can be phished online.

Changes in Vigilance?

54% of Canadians are learning more about fraud from news and reports and are trying more ways to protect themselves while 47% say that they are getting their fraud prevention education from their financial institution. These same people are saying that they are still having trouble recognizing fraud because so many attempts at fraud resemble legitimate communication such as in the case of phishing emails and calls. Take for instance CRA scam calls, most people who get a fake call from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency get so scared and will blurt out their personal details before they realize what is happening. Note too that fraudsters typically target those who are isolated.

Tips to Prevent Fraud

Below are some ways that you can use to minimize the chances of you becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Make sure to create better passwords. Better passwords don’t have to mean longer passwords. You can choose short passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that will be difficult to figure out for someone. It is best to have different passwords for different websites and apps as well.
  • Make it a habit to review your transactions. By checking your banking and credit card transactions frequently, you can catch any questionable entry as soon as it appears.
  • Note your credit score. Changes in your credit score could be an indication that your personal details have been used for fraud.
  • Safeguard your personal documents. This means shredding them if no longer needed. This will prevent your personal details from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Stay vigilant at all times. You can do this by screening your calls and texts. Do not give out personal information via text or call more so if the call was initiated by someone other than you.

With 2020 coming to an end and online transactions becoming more in use as we cope with quarantine restrictions, let us all do our best to not become a part of the fraud statistics. Follow our fraud prevention blog and contact us if you need our private investigation services for fraud prevention or for uncovering fraud.

 

Prevent Employee Fraud and Theft with These 8 Tips

Have you ever been the victim of employee fraud or theft? If so, you are not alone. A significant percentage of business revenue is lost yearly to employee theft. This loss is more significant in smaller organizations and should be addressed as soon as possible to mitigate losses. A working environment that discourages fraud and theft is key, and can easily be achieved by following the 8 tips below:

Promote a Positive Work Environment

When you create a positive work environment, it helps to encourage your employees to act in the best interest of your business and to follow established procedures and policies. This can be achieved by having clear organizational structure, written job descriptions, open lines of communication between employees and management, positive employee recognition, comprehensive procedures and policies, and fair employment practices.

Apply Internal Controls

Internal controls are indicators that measure and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance with laws and regulations, operations, accurate financial reporting, and safeguarding of assets. To truly be effective, the procedures and policies should address authorization controls, access controls, and separation of duties.

Employ Honest People

This is of course something that is easier said than done but you need to try because dishonest employees will find ways to go around your carefully laid out internal controls and sabotage your efforts to maintain a positive work environment. It is nearly impossible to know which potential employees will be dishonest but a quick look at each potential hire’s background can help you weed out the bad apples.

Go for a pre-employment background check and be sure that it will check for the following:

  • Employment verification of reasons for leaving the previous job, what position was held, and length of employment.
  • Education verification for degrees and/or certifications from accredited institutions
  • Driver’s license for serious or numerous violations.
  • Civil history for lawsuits involving fraud, restraining orders, and collections.
  • Criminal history for crimes involving fraud, violence, and theft.

Educate and Train Your Employees

Informing your employees about your internal controls to deter and detect fraud, the procedures and policies that are in place for fraud, your organizations ethics policies and code of conduct, plus how someone will be disciplined if caught violating any of these is a good extra measure for fraud prevention.

Employees should be given annual training on the topics above as well as informed of what is considered as fraudulent behaviour and should be asked to sign an acknowledgement after each training session. This can be very useful in court and in preventing any legal action in the first place.

Have an Anonymous Reporting System

A whistleblower program is a recommended reporting system that vendors, customers, and employees can use to report violations of procedures and policies anonymously.

Whenever possible, encourage and promote the use of the reporting system and be sure to take reports seriously. Every report should be investigated thoroughly to ensure this tip’s success.

Frequently Perform Audits (Both Regular and Irregular Audits)

Unannounced random audits are more effective than regular scheduled ones for identifying new fraud vulnerabilities and figuring out if existing controls are working as they should. This also makes possible wrongdoers uneasy about committing any fraud.

Investigate All Incidents

No matter how small or how big a report is, make sure that a prompt and thorough investigation is performed to ascertain if fraud really did occur or if there was any policy or procedure violation. Doing so will mitigate your losses in case of a real threat.

Set A Good Example

Business owners and senior management must lead by example and must be held to the same accountability as employees are regardless of position. This allows employees to see that procedures and policies are indeed followed to the last letter and they’d be less tempted to commit fraud.

The Importance of Child Safety in Child Custody Investigations

Child abuse is still as real in our current society as it is in societies of the past, especially during this pandemic, where data has shown child abuse is on the rise. Most people look for physical signs when suspecting child abuse, but emotional abuse and neglect can leave deeper scars; especially when parents are no longer together and there’s a danger that the child may be placed in the custody of the wrong parent.

Private Investigators Can Save a Child’s Life!

Qualified private investigators know what to look for and present the best evidence when considering child safety during a divorce. The parents can, of course, share their concerns and observations but we also know that it is not uncommon for divorcing parties to limit each other’s access to their child or children during a divorce. False allegations can fly from both camp and this makes awarding custody a very muddy process, even to people who have the best intentions.

Ideally speaking, an attorney will work directly with a qualified and licensed private investigator during the pre-filing phase. This is so that they can make sure that all concerns had been addressed before a proper case was filed in court.

Doing this also means a shorter child custody case because all the needed information will be ready and presented the best way possible at the start of the case. A shorter duration for the child custody battle means less emotional scarring for any child or children involved.

More so, the clearer the facts are, the faster a custody battle will be decided, and the sooner the child can be out of any possible danger.

What’s Involved in a Child Custody Investigation?

A lot of things! The private investigator (or child custody investigator) can document any important information during visitation and exchanges to have a record of how the child (or children) was treated when with each parent.

If there are allegations of abuse or mistreatment, the private detective can also question witnesses, interview relatives, and perhaps conduct background checks on both parents.

An experienced private investigator will also go and conduct an on-site assessment of where the child is staying to determine if it is a suitable environment for a child. Cleanliness, who are the other people living in the home, and any danger are all factors that an experienced private investigator will take a note of.

Sometimes, a private investigator will also make use of video surveillance to document if a parent is exposing the child to questionable people, if the child was seen with unexplained bruises or injuries, or if the parent is suspected of participating in reckless behavior.

Why Hire a Licensed Private Investigator?

Any evidence for a child custody case must be acquired legally for it to be admissible in court. Licensed private investigators are fully aware of legal protocols for acquiring information as well as can provide expert testimony if required in court.

If you suspect that your ex might be abusing your child (or children) in any way, substantiating that can be very difficult. A licensed private investigator can assist and guide you plus keep a record of whatever they observe once hired. They can also observe the other parent through surveillance if you suspect the other parent of reckless behaviour or neglect. They can also uncover medical records for treatments your child may have undergone to treat unreported injuries. Lastly, private investigators have the skills and resources to provide useful video and photo evidence that can be used in court.

It is always better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to your child’s (or children’s) welfare. If you want to uncover any questionable bahaviour of your partner or just want to be sure that your child (or children) is totally safe with two responsible and loving parents, using private investigation services is a smart choice. Contact us if looking for a licensed private investigator in Toronto.

 

Protect Yourself by Learning the Signs of Identity Theft

Almost everyone has heard about cases of identity theft. The disturbing thing is that you may hear more instances of it in the coming weeks as criminals and fraudsters are getting more creative in order to cheat honest people out of their hard-earned money in this trying time. Just a quick look at news about fraud and you’ll see cases of government program abuse, forgery, and financial fraud.

Why Fraudsters Commit Identity Theft

A huge chunk of fraud cases starts with identity theft. The fraudsters steal personal information and use that information to commit more crimes such as forgery, more fraud, and abuse of government programs. The fraudsters often only need a small amount of information such as one’s birthdate and name to steal an identity and commit crimes using the stolen identity.

Banks are very much aware of the various crimes related to identity theft and have security systems in place. They hire experts that comb through data in order to protect their customers from financial fraud. They often work with government agencies to educate consumers against fraud so that they can minimize their chances of being victims. However, this is not enough. Below are ways to know if your identity has been compromised.

Signs of Identity Theft to Watch Out For

Below are the common signs of identity theft:

  • You’ve received a credit card application mail in your address although you haven’t applied for one.
  • You were contacted by a creditor regarding a credit card application that you did not do.
  • You’ve received bills or credit card statements for accounts that you did not apply for.
  • You’ve stopped receiving credit card statements via your mail although you are not enrolled in paperless billing.
  • You’ve been contacted by a creditor or a collection agency regarding a loan or account that you do not remember you have.

Best Practices for Victims of Identity Theft in Canada

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or have experienced the signs of identity theft described above, be sure to do the following as soon as possible:

  • Contact your credit card issuer or bank right away. This step will minimize the effects of fraud in your account as the bank will usually cancel the card and investigate possible fraudulent transactions to reverse purchases or expenses that are proven not to be yours.
  • Contact credit reporting agencies in Canada such as TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada so that you can request for a copy of your credit report. You can report fraudulent information that you find this way. You can also request a fraud alert on your credit files so that nobody can apply for a credit card or take out a loan in your name.
  • Contact government agencies and organizations where you think your stolen data might be used by the fraudster. Human Resources Development Canada is a good place to start if you are concerned that someone might use your Social Insurance Number to get government services.
  • Contact the local police so that you can file a report.

If you are concerned about being a possible victim of identity theft and want to know more about how you can protect yourself from fraud or seek information on whether your information may have been used by fraudsters, contact us and our private investigators will be happy to assist you.

 

Brampton Man Lost Life Savings After Scam

A man from Ontario was left with just $9 after he was scammed of his life savings which are worth more than $8,200. Ganesh Khatry of Brampton Ontario was tricked into handing over his savings to scammers. He has been saving since he moved to Canada from Nepal 3 years ago in search of a better future.

Savings Gone

Khatry got a job at his local Walmart where he worked in shifts for years to pay his rent and build his savings. A family friend, Eliza Rizal, spoke to CTV News Toronto because Khatry does not speak fluent English. According to the family friend, Khatry received a call from someone claiming to be the Brampton Police on October 1. He was told that his bank accounts and his social insurance number were compromised, and he was worried that he would lose all his savings. He was told by the fraudsters that his compromised information may have been used to open multiple bank accounts used as avenues for money laundering and drug trafficking. Furthermore, he was told that withdrawing all his money and depositing it in a Bitcoin account will keep it safe.

Khatry was confused about the above and asked if he could talk to his friend but the caller insisted that since fraud was discovered involving his bank accounts and social insurance number, that it would be a mistake to tell anyone because it would compromise his safety. Khatry then proceeded to withdraw all his money from his two bank accounts, withdrawing about $4,000 from each account to deposit it to a Bitcoin machine believing that by doing so, his money will be safeguarded until the fake police can provide him with a new social insurance card the following day. Khatry realized that he was scammed the following morning.

Authorities Informed

After realizing what happened, Khatry immediately contacted Peel Regional Police but there was nothing law enforcement could do except tell him that his money was already gone. Note that money sent via cryptocurrency is nearly impossible to trace. Peel Regional Police spokesperson says that they are currently investigating the case with the help of their Fraud Bureau.

Lasting Trauma

Rizal shares that Khatry has barely left his room since he was scammed and he’s currently being supported financially by his friends, adding that Khatry is depressed and feels ashamed about falling for a scam.

Rizal started a GoFundMe page for Khatry to help him raise part of the funds that he has lost. She says that they hope to help him raise money to help him overcome what happened more so that falling for a scam is never the victim’s fault and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Avoid Bitcoin Scams

Peel Regional Police issued a warning in June to warn people about the surge in Bitcoin scams wherein fraudsters identify themselves as police officers to fool more victims. The police say that fraudsters can manipulate technology these days to make it seem like the phone call is from the actual government agency being mimicked and it is easy for anyone to fall victim to these manipulations.

Avoiding Bitcoin scams can be challenging because the people behind them take advantage of fear and misdirection to make victims do what they want. It is important to keep yourself updated about common scams and try to exercise doubt when you receive calls or warnings claiming to be from the authorities. If you think that your data may have been compromised, you can contact us at Haywood Hunt to find out how you can protect yourself and know which of our private investigation services could be beneficial for you.