Canadian Emergency Benefit (CEP) fraud has the potential to haunt those targeted for a long time.
Many Canadians, unwittingly involved in fraud, might not realize it until early next year, when income slips – and therefore T4 forms – are issued by the federal government.
That is what an expert in computer security believes as well as the Bloc opposition in Ottawa.
“It’s a time bomb,” says Paul Laurier, president of the security firm Vigiteck.
“When people will receive T4s in February, they will cry,” adds the former Sûreté du Québec investigator.
To carry out their misdeeds, the fraudsters hacked personal files on the Internet of the Canada Revenue Agency thanks to identity theft, according to the testimonies reported in the last months. In Quebec, recent massive identity thefts, such as at Desjardins, are benefiting these fraudsters.
Once in the files, they claim the PCU and have the amounts transferred to bank accounts that they create under false identities.
The payouts are tempting, as they can get up to $ 12,000 in ECPs, the maximum sum of the program.
It should be remembered that the management of the program was placed under the responsibility of the Revenue Agency.
Note also that PCU payments are taxable. This means that they will be considered as income for the year 2020 and will result in the issuance of T4 slips, therefore liable to tax grab.
As the Bloc Québécois MP Louise Chabot, spokesperson for employment issues, points out, the file system at the Revenue Agency is deficient in terms of security.
“There is no alert, no security, if the data is changed in [certains] files, ”she said in an interview.
In other words, many people whose Revenue Agency accounts were unwittingly used to carry out PKU frauds might not realize it until 2021.
Mme Chabot believes that the Revenue Agency must improve its security mechanisms as quickly as possible.
The extent of PCU fraud is unknown, as the federal government refuses to provide figures on this subject.
The program has distributed $ 64.3 billion to 8.5 million Canadians so far.
It will end in September and will be integrated into employment insurance.
Dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency when her internet file has been hacked to make ECP requests is “quite an aria”, in the words of Catherine Gauthier, a nurse from Quebec, who agreed to give her testimony to the Bureau. investigation.
To rectify her case, she had to make more calls with officials who were not always collaborative, spend hours waiting on the phone because of overloaded lines and even lose half a day of work.
The procedures were spread over two weeks. “It’s like the house that drives you crazy,” she describes. She also had to contact the bank where the money had been fraudulently transferred.
The perpetrators broke into his CRA file during the month of June and used it to transfer $ 6,000 in ECPs to an external bank account. Fortunately, Mme Gauthier quickly realized this.
She is sorry to have had to devote so much time to these steps, when the victim, after all, is her. “The evidence is reversed,” she said.
The victim of fraud seems, according to her, to have the burden of proving the truth of what happened to him.
To protect yourself frauds
- Create a file on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.
- Regularly check your personal CRA internet file, where PCU payments appear.
- Those who are uncomfortable with the internet can contact the CRA by phone at 1 800 959-7383.
- All Quebecers should carry out these checks, because no one is immune to fraud.