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How 'synthetic' identity fraud costs Canada $1B a year




Thousands of driver's licences with fake names are circulating in Ontario, with many being used in a new type of fraud that’s plaguing the financial industry, growing exponentially and costing Canadians up to a billion dollars a year, experts say.

These licences are an integral part of what’s known as synthetic identity fraud — a scheme that procures new and genuine credit and identification cards using false names.
"The term we've been using is infinite mischief,” says Toronto Det. Const. Mike Kelly, who, along with his partner, has been investigating synthetic IDs for about four years. “There's literally no limit to the types of things, the amounts of things, the amount of damage that can be caused to each sector that you can possibly think of — banks, government bureaucracies, police agencies, insurance, car lenders. Everybody.”
Kelly said driver’s licences give fraudsters “unique abilities” when used in conjunction with other fraudulent identification to obtain Canadian passports, register businesses or get large business loans.

“Those types of things, we believe that’s [what] the ultimate point was.”
As for the number of licences with fake names out there, Kelly said the estimates vary.
“If you talk in hushed corners and ask people honestly what they think, people will give you numbers from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands.
“Some will even say as high as a million. In my experience it’s always somewhere in the middle," Kelly said, adding he estimated the number to be around 200,000.

In Orangeville, one driver's licence office issued licences to over 100 synthetic identities, and to some of them more than once. Police suspected an inside job at the Orangeville office and charged two employees. But a judge disagreed, saying it could have been an oversight owing to a heavy workload.

CBC News


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