Fake IDs used in $8-million scam

 Modern technology is great, however it’s an unwilling partner in many a fraudster’s toolkit. False identification can be created quickly for use in various fraudulent schemes.

The equipment required is fairly basic: just a little plastic card printer and photo-editing software. It’s scary that these realistic ID cards can pass scrutiny.

CTV recently broke a story on an Ontario husband and wife who were charged in a money laundering investigation in which the seized $8 million worth of fraudulent cheques and stolen merchandise.

The story showed a table littered with hundreds of fake ID cards; the couple allegedly used them to set up bank accounts and to obtain credit cards and loans – even high-end merchandise like Mercedes, Land Rovers, and BMWs.

Ironically, the wife worked as a fraud investigator. Police claimed she knew exactly what not to do and used her knowledge to play the system to avoid getting caught. It worked, for a little while.

Here in the Greater Toronto Area, a false ID can be purchased for about $150. If someone has used your identity to open up a bank account it will take a lot of time and effort to clear your name.

Online fraud is another common problem, It’s unfortunate how many people fall for phishing emails. This is an easy way for criminals to obtain sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details. The most convincing phishing scams are the most real-sounding.

Instead of accepting an identification card, banks and other businesses should look for alternative forms of verification, such as calling the company where the person works, and fact-checking all the documents they’re given. Our company recently discovered someone who’d claimed to be a lawyer and had easily copied certificates and diplomas from a genuine lawyer’s website, then changed the name.

It continues to frustrate people such as ourselves that the Canadian justice system doesn’t quite regard commercial crime seriously enough and not enough prosecution of fraud takes place in our country.

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