How to spot a scam; new fast-track screening process at airports: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet
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CRA demands payment on scammed federal benefits — from the victim whose account was hacked
As if battling a constant onslaught of identity thieves isn't enough, Justice Mounsey has to clear his name over and over again to the same government that inadvertently released his personal information in the first place.
The personal and financial information of thousands of taxpayers, including their bank account and social insurance numbers, ended up in the wrong hands after the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and other government service websites were hacked in the spring or summer of 2020.
Since then, fraudsters have tried to access credit and benefits under Mounsey's name at least 18 times.
He's had to deal with fraudulent credit card and bank account applications, auto-payments to a utility company — as well as four employment insurance claims, plus a CERB claim totalling about $40,000.
The most frustrating part, he says, is dealing with the government's demands that he pay thousands of dollars in taxes and interest related to those EI claims.
"They just keep asking for more and more money," Mounsey told CBC. "I'm the victim here. This is their security protocol that failed, but I'm left to pick up all the pieces."
In March 2023, the CRA sent a letter demanding he pay $6,018.97 or face possible legal action for taxes and interest charges related to those fraudulent EI claims.
"I was very upset…. I think I've received maybe four different notices stating, 'Hey, you've got to give us money … and if you don't pay us in the next few months, we're going to start garnishing your wages.'"
The CRA told CBC that it can't comment on specific taxpayer situations because of confidentiality rules under the Income Tax Act.
Generally, it says, in "cases of a confirmed identity theft incident, the CRA will ensure that proper protection and corrective actions are taken, thereby returning the taxpayer to a seamless interaction with the CRA." Read more
There's a new program for travellers to help streamline airport security — and it means you can keep your shoes on
The federal government is making a move to try to calm Canada's travel chaos by rolling out the new Verified Traveller program that it says will streamline the airport security check-in process.
Starting June 21, eligible airline passengers will be able to keep their laptops, electronics and liquids in their carry-on bags and will be permitted to clear airport security without having to remove their shoes, belts and jackets.
The new fast-track screening service will be available at select international airports across the country, including Toronto's Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Winnipeg International Airport and Trudeau International Airport in Montreal.
Nexus and Global Entry members will qualify for the streamlined security service, as will active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. military members, including reservists with valid identification.
Canadian aircrew, airport staff and international aircrew in uniform with valid ID will also be able to fast-track through airport security checkpoints, as will RCMP and police from other forces.
The Verified Traveller program will also allow children 17 and under and Canadians 75 and older to pass through streamlined security with eligible passengers if they are on the same reservation. Read more
He thought he was helping his bank stop a thief — but it was all a scam
It started with a call from someone posing as an employee with TD Visa, but it ended with $13,000 being stolen from a Montreal man.
Shabetai Shattah said he got a call about suspicious activity on his credit card. After confirming he had not made the purchases, Shattah was told by the person on the phone that his credit card would be cancelled and he'd get a new one in a few days.
It all sounded pretty routine.
The imposter then told him a bitcoin wallet had also been opened in his name and it was overdrawn by $13,000. Shattah said he was then transferred to TD's investigation department, where he was told the bank suspected an employee at his branch was leaking information and stealing money. They asked for his help to catch them.
The "investigator" told Shattah they would deposit $13,000 into his chequing account so that he could bring the balance in the bitcoin wallet to zero.
"I opened up EasyWeb and, lo and behold, there's $13,000 in my account," said Shattah, 72. "In my head, I figured, 'Well, this is totally legit.'"
The scammers asked Shattah to withdraw the money, which he did, at two different branches.
They asked him to be discreet to avoid alerting the "bad" employee.
At the first branch, the bank teller asked Shattah what the money was for.
"I was coached to tell them it was to pay for the renovation I was having and these guys want cash," he said. The teller told him the money machine wasn't working, but that he could withdraw $5,000 at the ATM machine.
He withdrew the remaining $8,000 at a second location.
From there, Shattah was told the investigators would trace the money.
"In my mind and in my heart, I thought I was helping TD catch a thief," he said. "Maybe I was just being naive, but you know, I thought I was really doing a good service for the bank."
When Shattah's new credit card still hadn't arrived the following week, he called TD Visa and was shocked to learn that there was no record of his card being cancelled.
In Shattah's case, he found out the fraudsters had taken out a cash advance on his Visa card and then transferred it to his chequing account.
He said he usually receives an alert if he does anything outside his normal banking habits but that TD Bank never notified him of a cash advance on his card. He also exceeded his normal monthly spending in April, but that didn't appear to raise any red flags for the bank, he said.
"They didn't do their due diligence. They didn't protect me," said Shattah, who lives in Côte Saint-Luc, a city on the island of Montreal.
Although he filed a complaint with TD, his request for reimbursement was denied, as was his appeal. He'll have to pay back the $13,000 cash advance in full. The bank offered him three months interest free, but then it goes back up to 30 per cent interest.
In an email to CBC Montreal, TD Bank encourages customers to be wary of any unsolicited calls, text messages or emails they receive, especially if they are asking for personal information. Read more
Marketplace has reported on the bank investigator scam before. To learn more, and for tips on how to protect yourself, you can watch the full investigation on CBC Gem.
(Note: This investigation aired alongside a story on E. coli outbreaks in romaine lettuce. It's worth the watch, but if you only want to watch the scam story, you can skip to 13:30.)
Have you been the victim of a scam? We want to hear about it. Reach us at email@example.com.
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