Identity-theft scam hits close to home

Statistics show identity theft is becoming more prevalent with many different types that are increasingly more sophisticated.
This one targets job seekers.

Identity-theft scam catches 100 people in net:

Identity-theft scam catches 100 people in net
Police display fraudulent driver’s licences, SIN cards, credit cards

Shannon Proudfoot, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, March 09, 2006
More than 100 people were caught in a “wide-ranging identity-theft scam” that has seen at least $500,000 in charges made on phoney credit cards in the last four years, say police.
In a joint operation with Canada Post, Ottawa police have charged two area residents and unravelled racket that has been operating since 2002, using an online employment advertisement to lure people into submitting resumes, which the scammers allegedly responded to using official-looking letterhead. The letters stated the victims had been selected as candidates for a $70,000-a-year job as a “programmer analyst,” and requested they submit an application form with a $20 processing fee.
The application forms asked for the full name, social insurance number, driver’s licence number and addresses of the targets. The people behind the fraud then allegedly used that personal information to obtain more that 60 credit cards, driver’s licences and social insurance cards in other people’s names.
The operation was uncovered when one of the victims discovered his mail had been re-routed without his knowledge.
“We don’t understand the scope of this as of yet,” Staff Sgt. Leo Janveau said yesterday, adding that police have identified more than 100 victims and are looking for more.
Police said they had never encountered identity fraud of this type in Ottawa. After tracing the scam to a post office box on Parkdale Avenue, police pinpointed the people behind it and searched an Orleans house on Tuesday. They arrested two suspects at the scene, and discovered thousands of envelopes and sheets of letterhead from a fake company, several letters already addressed to prospective victims, and a stash of high-end electronics. Most of the items purchased with the illicit credit cards have not yet been recovered, but police said the monthly statements would allow them to trace the purchases.
Ottawa residents Richard Pierre, 35, and Patricia Emmanuel, 31, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.
“These arrests are particularly timely, since March is Fraud Prevention Month,” said Police Chief Vince Bevan. He said identity theft is an ever-growing problem, and urged people to remain vigilant about their sensitive personal information.
The employment scam was operated under the names of four non-existent companies: Logistic Telecom, IDCOR, Pastel Media and Metromedia. People who think they may have been victims of this operation should contact the Ottawa police at 236-1222, ext. 8338.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2006

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