Alberta insurance broker accused of defrauding $540K from employer

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A former insurance broker in southern Alberta has been charged with defrauding his employer of more than $540,000 over a period of almost nine years.

Police in Lethbridge say an investigation began last October after an employee at Schwartz Reliance noted discrepancies in accounts managed by one of the partners.

Investigators allege that between January 2008 and last September someone created fake accounts and altered existing accounts to generate higher commissions for personal gain.

Police say no clients suffered any losses.

Stephan James Evanson, who is 36 and from Stirling, Alta., is charged with fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

He has been released from custody and is to appear in court on March 27.

Claims: Is my nephew committing insurance fraud?

Claims: Is my nephew committing insurance fraud?

BY JASON TCHIR | The Globe and Mail

My nephew had his car broken into and he lied and claimed he’d had a brand-new MacBook in it. He doesn’t think it’s wrong since insurance companies charge so much and make a lot of money. This is fraud, right? I’m trying to scare him. Dan, Toronto

Insurance fraud is, well, fraud – but for some, it’s considered a matter of just getting back a small chunk of what you’ve been pouring in for years, a researcher said.

“People think of insurance policies as a savings account – the more they’ve paid in, the more entitled they feel to take something back,” said Dr. Yoel Inbar, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. “If you’ve never filed a claim, it almost feels like you’re getting a bad deal.”

In several studies involving about 1,000 people in the United States and the Netherlands (“there’s no reason to believe this isn’t true for Canada”), Inbar found that people rationalized acts of fraud such as getting the body shop to fix existing damage along with claim-covered accident damage.

They didn’t see it as stealing, he said.

“People don’t understand how insurance works – they think it’s a big faceless corporation and it will come out of their profits,” Inbar said. “So they don’t realize that what it actually does is make it more expensive for everybody.”

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) referred to Inbar’s research when it released an Ipsos survey of 1,052 Ontarians.

In that survey, about 10 per cent said they had submitted an exaggerated or false claim.

Plus, 35 per cent said they didn’t know that defrauding an insurance company is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada – and 25 per cent said they didn’t know auto insurance fraud affects auto insurance premiums.

“People don’t understand the basic idea of risk pooling,” Inbar said. “If we ask people to describe what auto insurance is, they say, ‘You pay into to it so eventually you can take something out.’ ”

Inbar said “a small minority said what an economist will tell you: that it’s a mechanism for risk hedging.”

In 2010, KPMG estimated that insurance fraud cost companies $768-million to $1.56-billion.

That same year, Ontario reduced benefits paid out to people injured in accidents – and it saved insurance companies $2-billion.

In 2015, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association released a report by two York University professors showing that Ontario insurance companies made big profits – as much as an 18.5 per cent return on equity.

What if you get caught committing insurance fraud? The claim could get denied, your insurance policy could be cancelled and, if it’s more than $5,000 and you’re convicted, you could get up to 14 years in prison.

Less than $5,000? Up to two years.

Top 10 most stolen vehicles in Vancouver – Did yours make the list?

Top 10 most stolen vehicles in Vancouver – Did yours make the list?

By Eric Zimmer | Daily Hive

Got an older Honda Civic currently sitting in your driveway?

You might want to double check.

The Vancouver Police released their list of the top 10 most stolen cars in Vancouver, and not only is the Honda Civic a popular car to own, it’s the most popular one to steal.

Other popular choices for car thieves include Ford F-150s, Toyota Camrys, and Jeep Cherokees.

Top 10 stolen vehicles in Vancouver

  1. Honda Civic (pre-2000)
  2. Ford F-150 (pre-1999) and Ford F-250 trucks (pre-2007)
  3. Honda Accord (pre-1998)
  4. Dodge/Plymouth Chrysler minivan (1991-2000)
  5. Jeep Cherokee (1993 to 1999)
  6. Ford Econoline van (2000 to 2007)
  7. Toyota Corolla (1990 to 2004)
  8. Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/ Sierra Trucks (1992 to 2006)
  9. Acura Integra (1990 to 2001)
  10. Toyota Camry / Solara (1989 to 1999)

If your car made the list, but anti-theft devices cost more than your ride, the VPD may have a solution for you.

The detachment is giving away wheel locks at four different locations while supplies last.

Get your own Plymouth (or whatever thief-prone vehicle you own) protector at these community police centres:

  • Collingwood – 5160 Joyce Street, Vancouver
  • Hastings Sunrise CPC – 2620 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • Kerrisdale Oakridge Marpole – 6070 E. Boulevard, Vancouver
  • Granville Downtown– 1263 Granville Street, Vancouver

Source: Dally Hive

Check out these famous insurance fraud cases that surely carried a huge bounty.
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Top 10 scams targeting Canadians in terms of number of complaints received

MONTREAL _ The Competition Bureau, in conjunction with the Better Business Bureau, Quebec-based consumers group Option consommateurs and other fraud-prevention partners announced Wednesday the top 10 fraud scams targeting Canadians in 2016. In terms of the number of complaints received, the hit list is as follows:

1. Employment Scam: $5.3 million lost

The most reported scam to BBB Scam Tracker. Chances are you didn’t apply for a job you can do from home, much less get an interview. A cheque-cashing scheme that is simply too good to be true.

Advice: Do research on any company before accepting a position; ignore a company that asks you to deposit a cheque.

_ _ _

2. Romance Scams: $17 million lost

Canadians give away a lot of money as they give away their hearts to Catphishers. Catphishing is when a fraudster fakes an identity and tricks someone via dating sites into a phony emotional or romantic relationship for financial gain.

Advice: Do not wire money to someone you’ve never met

_ _ _

3. Identity Fraud: $11 million lost

Scammers steal a person’s identity to secure credit cards, bank loans and even rent property in that name.

Advice: Never carry your SIN with you; change online passwords regularly.

_ _ _

4. Advance Fee Loan: $1.1 million lost

Paying an up-front fee to get a loan is illegal in Canada and the United States. These scammers prey on those who don’t qualify for loans through reputable lenders.

Advice: Seek alternative finance options.

_ _ _

5. Online Purchase Scams: $8.6 million lost

Scammers have new online avenues to take your money and trust. Counterfeit merchandise, goods that never show up, fake websites and free trial traps are everywhere.

Advice: Shop on legitimate websites; use third party payment portals such as PayPal.

_ _ _

6. Wire Fraud _ “Spearphishing:” $13 million lost

Spearphishing is a big problem for the business community. Millions are lost when scammers pose as company brass and demand money be wired to a fake company email.

Advice: Create payment redundancies in your organization; be vigilant on any incoming emails.

_ _ _

7. Binary Options Scam: $7.5 million lost (Investment Fraud)*

Big promises of low-risk, high returns, and full refunds entice Canadians to take a chance. It’s really just an unregulated 50/50 bet and not investment at all. They delay any winnings…if you win at all.

Advice: Understand high risk is involved; seek professional investment advice.

*Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

_ _ _

8. Fake Lottery Winnings: $3 million lost

If you didn’t enter…you didn’t win. Calls come in at all hours telling you you’ve won a big lottery. You just need to pay a tax or insurance fee before you get your millions. It’s way too good to be true.

Advice: You do not have to pay to receive lottery winnings; contact the corporation directly.

_ _ _

9. Canada Revenue Agency Scam: $4.3 million lost

While the scam is still being reported, a crackdown on a call centre in India in 2016 has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of calls targeting Canadians.

Advice: The Canada Revenue Agency does not make threatening phone calls; the CRA does not request information by phone or by email.

_ _ _

10. Fake Online Endorsements and Sponsored Content: Amount of Money Lost Unknown

Consumers are often enticed to purchase a product or service based on reviews by social media influencers. Unfortunately, these reviews may not be genuine and the influencer may have been paid by a company to be used as a marketing tool.

Advice: Take everything you read online with a grain of salt

Source: Better Business Bureau

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