March 4, 2011
The Competition Bureau announced earlier this week its participation in Fraud Prevention Month, which this year focuses on the growing problem of online fraud. Fraud Prevention Month is an annual education and awareness campaign held in Canada and around the world. The Competition Bureau’s website provides some great education and prevention information including a new interactive quiz designed to test consumers’ and businesses’ fraud awareness. I’d encourage you to take the quiz!
October 27, 2009
You may know someone who has been a victim of identity theft. What you may not know is that, before today, police couldn’t charge fraudsters with “identity theft”. That changed when Bill S-4 was given Royal Assent by Parliament earlier today.
Thanks to the bill, titled An Act to amend the Criminal Code (identity theft and related misconduct), there are now three new Criminal Code offences related to identity theft:
- Obtaining and possessing identity information with the intent to use the information deceptively, dishonestly or fraudulently in the commission of a crime;
- Trafficking in identity information, an offence that targets those who transfer or sell information to another person with knowledge of, or recklessness as to, the possible criminal use of the information; and
- Unlawfully possessing or trafficking in government-issued identity documents that contain information of another person.
Before Bill S-4 came into effect, police had to use other Criminal Code provisions to target identity theft. Today’s development should help law enforcement officials attack a growing problem: the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus has estimated that identity theft may cost Canadians more than $2 billion annually.
October 6, 2009
BBC News is reporting that thousands of Hotmail accounts have been compromised in a phishing attack, which has reportedly affected at least 10,000 individuals.
Phishing involves identity thieves attempting to obtain personal information, such as user names, passwords and financial information, by pretending to be trustworthy organizations in need of such data.
Coincidentally, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released her annual report today, which stresses the importance of making informed choices when sharing personal information online. The Privacy Commissioner reminds Canadians that there is a risk that unguarded personal information could be exploited by identity thieves. The Hotmail phishing attack, as well as the Privacy Commissioner’s annual report, should also remind businesses to remain vigilant in protecting their brands – or online reputations – from being damaged by identity thieves that use phishing attacks to exploit the well-earned trust that such businesses have built with their customers.
February 5, 2009
ID thieves steal your money the modern way … they dumpster-dive, “phish” online to get your info
My April 4, 2005 column in the Winnipeg Free Press details the more imaginative ways thieves have come up with to take over your identity and your life.