March is Fraud Prevention Month!

March is Fraud Prevention Month!

The Whig Standard

The Beaumont RCMP would like to remind residents that every year, thousands of Canadians fall victim to fraud, losing millions of dollars. Most don’t think it could happen to them, but fraudsters use sophisticated ways to target people of all ages. The impact of fraud on individuals, families and businesses can be devastating. Retirement savings, homes, businesses and in some cases, lives have all been lost.

Scammers victimize vulnerable Canadians, individuals who may be at their lowest. The best way to fight these types of crime is through awareness. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre plays a crucial role in educating the public about scams and fraud.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is Canada’s repository for data, intelligence and resource material related to fraud. It provides information to assist citizens, businesses and law enforcement in Canada and around the world. For up to date information and to view a list of common scams visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501 to reach the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The Beaumont RCMP encourage the public to report any criminal or suspicious activity to police. Your reports tell us where to look, who to look for and where to patrol in the future.

 

Check out our course at ILScorp on Fraud

Homeowners Insurance – What you Need to Know About Fraudulent Claims

 

Centre eyes artificial intelligence to modernize the federal hunt for dirty cash

By Jim Bronskill

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The federal anti-money laundering centre is exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning to help sort through a deluge of data in the hunt for hidden dirty cash.

In its annual report made public Wednesday, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, says rapid change in the global financial system, spurred by quickly evolving technology, is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Fintrac says technology can help money launderers but also create more efficient and effective ways of doing business for enforcement agencies.

The federal centre tries to pinpoint cash linked to money laundering and terrorism by sifting through millions of pieces of information annually from banks, insurance companies, securities dealers, money service businesses, real estate brokers, casinos and others.

Overall, the centre disclosed 2,276 pieces of financial intelligence to police and security agencies such as the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service last year.

Of these, 1,702 were related to money laundering, 373 to terrorism financing and threats to the security of Canada, and 201 to a combination of these.

Fraud, drugs and tax evasion were the most common offences linked to the disclosures. Many of the drug-related ones involved the movement of money related to deadly fentanyl.

The top three recipients of information were the RCMP, municipal police forces and CSIS.

In December, Fintrac warned casinos to scrutinize customers who pay for their gaming with bank drafts _ the latest method of choice for criminals trying to disguise tainted money.

The agency published the alert as part of Project Athena, an RCMP-led public-private partnership aimed at disrupting money-laundering activity in British Columbia and across Canada. The initiative was modelled on previous efforts targeting the fentanyl trade, romance fraud and human trafficking.

B.C. launched a public inquiry into money laundering in May after a series of independent reviews revealed that billions of dollars were being laundered through the province’s casinos, real estate market and other sectors.

B.C. was second only to Ontario among provinces in the number of financial intelligence disclosure packages received from Fintrac in 2018-19.

The federal centre depends on sophisticated technology to receive, store and secure over 25 million new financial transaction reports every year.

Filtering and analyzing the information to generate useful intelligence is only possible with modern systems that can manage the high volume of data, make the connections and produce the needed results, all in real-time or close to it, the report says.

“Over the past year, the centre engaged in research and consultation aimed at better understanding how to take advantage of new and evolving technology, particularly in relation to machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

Fintrac has begun a comprehensive review of its modernization effort to ensure “full and timely use” of its data.

IBC: Spot these five common insurance fraud scams

TORONTOMarch 3, 2020 /CNW/ – At the kick-off to Fraud Prevention Month, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) advised the public to watch out for insurance fraud scams. This type of crime cost Canadians well over $1 billion a year in added insurance premiums, and strains our already burdened health care, emergency services and court systems.

“When someone makes a false or exaggerated claim, it’s the honest policyholders that pay for it,” said Bryan Gast, National Director, Investigative Services, IBC. “IBC wants to help consumers avoid falling victim to insurance fraud,” said Gast. “The more people report fraud, the more fraudsters we can bring to justice.”

Here are five common ways criminals manipulate Canadians and the insurance system:

Five common types of insurance fraud

  1. Inflated Tow, Store & Dent
    Dishonest towing companies and auto repair shops intentionally overbill insurers, driving up insurance premium costs.

  2. The Blank Form
    Disreputable medical clinic staff ask claimants to sign blank accident benefit forms and then bill insurers for services that were not provided. Or, the clinics might forge the signatures of medical practitioners on forms to bill insurers for services never rendered.

  3. Staged Collision
    In a staged collision, a driver intentionally causes an accident with an unsuspecting driver and makes it look as if the innocent driver is at fault.

  4. Fake News
    With policy misrepresentation, an individual misleads an auto insurance company by providing misinformation, such as a false address, or make or model of his or her vehicle. The individual carefully chooses this false information because of its reduced risk profile, which reduces the amount he or she should pay for auto insurance.

  5. Hot Cars
    Stolen, unrepairable and often dangerous vehicles are given a false vehicle identification number and then sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Gast’s national investigative team partners with law enforcement, government agencies and insurance companies across the country to identify insurance crime, investigate fraudsters and scam artists, and bring criminals to justice. The IBC team focuses on all aspects of insurance fraud, including organized crime rings involved in auto theft and fraudulent injury and accident benefit claims.

Five tips for avoiding fraud after a collision

1.

Contact your insurance company if a stranger tries to steer you to an unknown body shop, doctor, chiropractor or legal representative.

2.

See only medical and legal professionals you know and trust, or who are recommended by people you trust.

a.

Contact medical and legal licensing regulators in your province to ensure that your service providers are licensed and that no complaints have been lodged against them.

b.

Know what your medical benefits are; for example, what is and isn’t covered.

c.

Keep detailed records of your medical appointments, including the dates, locations, names of practitioners, diagnoses and services. As well, record the medicine, supplies and/or equipment that were prescribed.

3.

Be involved in your claim. Compare your records against the statements you receive from your insurance company to make sure the bills are accurate and don’t include goods or services you didn’t receive.

4.

Never sign a blank insurance claim form.

5.

Know what your full and final settlement includes.

It’s easy to report a suspected exaggerated claim, staged auto collision or other insurance crime. Call IBC’s anonymous, toll-free TIPS Line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS (422-8477) or submit a tip online at ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

Manitoba funeral director admits to faking client death certificates

Money was collected from insurance companies to pay for funerals that never happened

The excerpted article was written by Darren Bernhardt · CBC News 

A former funeral director pleaded guilty in a Winnipeg court Tuesday to 13 counts of faking death certificates to receive payouts from insurance companies.

Mike Knysh, who once owned and operated Knysh Funeral Chapel in Winnipeg and Beausejour, was set to go to trial in April on 24 counts in total — 11 for fraud and 13 for forgery.

Instead, his lawyer, Frank Coniglio, and Crown prosecutor Mandy Ambrose reached an agreement that saw the 11 fraud charges dropped in exchange for Knysh’s guilty plea in Court of Queen’s Bench to the 13 forgeries.

The victims had purchased prearranged funeral plans from Knysh, police said in April 2018, when the charges were laid.

The 13 counts represent 13 separate people for whom funeral director’s statement-of-death certificates were filed with insurance companies, even though all were alive at the time, court heard.

Knysh then received money from the insurance companies to pay for funerals that never happened. A total of $83,000 was claimed from the insurance policies, police said.

The incidents happened between 2004 and 2014.

As the court clerk read out each charge individually Tuesday, Knysh quietly pleaded guilty. He then responded with a muted “yes” when the clerk clarified each time that he said “guilty.”

Justice Chris Martin followed up by asking if Knysh realized his guilty pleas mean he will have a criminal record.

“Yes,” Knysh said.

Sentencing is set for April 14.

Outside the courtroom, Coniglio called the plea deal “an acceptable resolution,” noting there were a number of charges the defence did not believe were valid.

By avoiding trial, many witnesses — including several who are elderly — will not need to attend court, Coniglio added.

“We didn’t want any of them to have to go through that experience if it wasn’t absolutely necessary,” he said.

Coniglio hopes that will be considered as a mitigating circumstance by the judge during sentencing.

He added there are other such circumstances that will be presented at that hearing to show the crime “is not exactly what it might look like on the face of it.”

POLL: Calls to fight insurance fraud grow louder among Canadians

A recent survey commissioned by Aviva Canada and conducted by Pollara Strategic Insight finds that Canadians overwhelmingly support strong action to fight insurance fraud and clearly correlate fraud with increased premiums.  The survey showed that combating fraud is becoming more of a priority for Canadians, growing from 77% in 2017 to 87% in 2019, with overwhelming support in all regions of the country.

“With March being Fraud Prevention Month, we wanted to release this survey data, highlighting Canadian’s attitude towards fraud,” said Ashish Bhargava, Vice President, Aviva VerifyAviva Canada. “At Aviva, we are committed to raising awareness and educating our consumers, many of whom are unknowingly victims of fraud. We’ve long been a leader in the Canadian insurance industry and continue to advocate and fight for reform to reduce the levels of fraud, and to establish stricter consequences for those found guilty of committing it.”

The survey revealed that:

  • 90% of Canadians are aware there is a direct relationship between what an insurance company pays in claims and their annual premiums – an 18% increase in awareness compared to the results from a similar survey from 2017, which was also conducted by Pollara using the same methodology.
  • 87% of Canadians want more time and money spent on policing and prosecuting fraudulent insurance claims.
  • In fact, 72% of Canadians agree that increased prosecution of fraud could result in lower auto insurance premiums.
  • Half of Canadians feel one in four claims involve some element of fraud; a further 20% feel it may be closer to half of all claims.
  • 15% of Canadians report knowing of someone that has inflated the value of their personal belongings stolen from a vehicle.

The survey also pointed to the need for more consumer education, including:

  • Insurance companies can do a better job of helping consumers understand their rights at the accident scene; including that tow truck drivers are required to supply them with a detailed cost list, written notice of where they will be towing a vehicle and whether or not there are costs associated with the repair shop being recommended.
  • A little under half of Canadians indicated they are knowledgeable when it comes to their rental coverage, meaning some may overpay as a result.
  • Very few Canadians feel they are very prepared to navigate the claims process, with half of all Canadians admitting they aren’t prepared at all.
  • Almost 60% of Canadians believe they are not required to record police information or remove their personal items from their vehicle at the accident scene.
  • Two thirds of Canadians are unlikely to use a repair facility recommended to them by their insurer. Data from Aviva Canada shows that claims are resolved, on average, 30 days faster when using a recommended repair shop.

We urge consumers to be alert of any suspicious activity that may lead them to become a victim of fraud. Aviva Canada customers who suspect they may be a victim of fraud can contact our 24/7 fraud hotline 1-855-332-5255 or email us at fraud.canada@aviva.com.

Notes to editors

  • The survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insight through online interviews with 1,500 Canadians, 18 years of age and older, with a current auto insurance policy. The interviews were carried out from between October 14 to 21, 2019.  The results are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.  For a full copy of the survey results contact Aviva.

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country, providing home, automobile, lifestyle and business insurance to 2.8 million customers. A subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, Aviva Canada has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and our communities. Aviva Canada invests in safer Canadian communities through Aviva Take Back Our Roads. Launched in 2019, Aviva Canada is investing in data driven solutions and strategic collaborations to make safer roads a reality for all.

For more information, visit aviva.ca

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

Related Links

www.avivacanada.com

February/Valentine’s Day is a busy time for car insurance fraud TIPS Line

While February might be considered the month of love, increased activity to Manitoba Public Insurance’s TIPS Line suggests otherwise.

“Last year, February was the busiest month for tip calls,” said Curtis Wennberg, Chief Operating Officer, Manitoba Public Insurance. “I suppose nothing says ‘I don’t love you anymore’ than by placing a call to the anti-fraud TIPS Line.

“While all calls to the TIPS Line are anonymous, some callers will admit to being an ex-spouse or ex-partner of a person allegedly defrauding the Corporation. We can only speculate that emotions of past romantic relationships are triggered by increased talk about Valentine’s Day. Regardless of the reason, MPI is very appreciative of their help.”

Over the last five years (2015-2019), on average, there has been an increase of calls placed to the TIPS Line during February. Overall, 2019 was a record year for tips to the line with a total of 594 compared to 439 in 2018 ─ a 35 per cent increase.

Information gathered from calls to the TIPS Line is carefully reviewed in order to separate legitimate calls from frivolous calls to ensure innocent customers are not impacted. Manitoba’s public auto insurer saved more than $700,000 in 2019 as the result of information gained from calls to the TIPS Line. MPI estimates that fraud costs its ratepayers about $50 per year.

Suspicious claims are handled by MPI’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). The efforts of this special unit resulted in claims savings last year of more than $10 million for MPI rate payers. The SIU closed more than 1,200 investigations in 2019. In addition to the TIPS Line, Manitoba Public Insurance receives information about possible fraudsters from employees, police agencies, or Manitoba Crime Stoppers.

No matter the month or special occasion, anyone with information about auto insurance fraud is encouraged to call the Manitoba Public Insurance TIPS Line: 204-985-8477 or toll-free 1-877-985-8477. All calls are anonymous.

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