Thursday, May 27, 2010

Public beware - motor vehicle insurance scam in Ontario

NORTH BAY, Ontario May 27, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are warning people who are seeking and obtaining automobile insurance, that fraudsters have been advertising fraudulent insurance premiums in Ontario newspapers and on websites.

Signs consumers need to be aware of are:

- Unusually low rates
- Everyone is accepted
- A phoney, invalid insurance slip is mailed or emailed to buyers after they have sent their premium through Western Union or Money Gram.

Complaints forwarded by victims of this automobile insurance scam confirm that the scammers have used company names such as "Arthur and Son", "Smith and Sons" and "Addison and Sons".

A scam of this nature is serious in that victims are not aware that their automobile insurance is not valid until they are involved in a collision or are stopped by police.

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre is advising citizens to protect themselves by following a few safety measures when shopping for automobile insurance. Legitimate insurance companies and brokers have to be registered in Ontario and a consumer can verify a company through the following two sources of information:

1) All Ontario Insurance brokers have to be licensed with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO). You can contact RIBO at 416-365-3098 and 1-800-265-3097 or by visiting

2) In Ontario, automobile insurance is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Finance. In order to provide insurance, an insurance company must be registered with FSCO. You can contact FSCO at

If you suspect you have or are about to purchase fraudulent insurance, please contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

You may also visit to educate yourself against fraud and scams currently affecting Canadians.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Dangers of Selling on eBay

By: Dachary Carey

Selling on eBay can be highly profitable, but it can also be a dangerous prospect. If you regularly sell on eBay, look out for these common fraud schemes:

Paying More than an Item Is Worth

One of the oldest tricks in the book is a request to pay you more than the item is worth, with the provision that you'll send the excess funds back to the buyer when you ship the item. In these cases, the funds you receive are fraudulent, either in the form of a fraudulent money order or check, or a stolen credit card.

Within a few days, but after you've shipped the item, the bank tells you the check is fraudulent and you're left without the funds and without the item. You can appeal to PayPal or eBay, but if you didn't follow the steps for seller protection, you might be out of luck.

Only Use Approved Payment Methods

Because of the dangers of fraud and scams, it's important to only use approved payment methods when you sell on eBay. Use PayPal or to ensure the security of your transactions and to know you have protection in the event of fraud. If you use merchant accounts or other payment methods, eBay does not provide protection services and you may be out of luck if you get caught by a fraudulent transaction.

Watch out for Shill Bidders

In a real-world auction, a shill bidder is someone hired by the seller to drive up the price of an item. On eBay, a slightly more sophisticated version of this scam operates. Multiple shill bidders coordinate to drive the price of an item up, then withdraw their high bids at the last minute so a low bid wins the item.

For example, if one person bids $10 on the item, and the next person bids $400, no one else is going to bid on the item. Moments before the auction concludes, the $400 bid is withdrawn. You're left with a $10 bid on an item, and no other bidders. If you notice a drastic jump in bidding, do some research on your bidders to ensure they have good feedback and are legitimate buyers.

Unusual Requests

eBay fraud comes in many forms. If you get an unusual request from a buyer, or the buyer is located overseas, carefully verify the identity of your buyer and the legitimacy of the request. Make sure you follow all of eBay's seller protection policies. Look for bidders with good feedback to ensure you're not dealing with a fraudulent buyer. When in doubt, ask for verification or contact the eBay support team.

E-mail Phishing

Don't click on links in e-mails from eBay buyers. Use your eBay account to respond to questions to ensure you're not visiting a fraudulent Web site that will load viruses or keyloggers onto your computer. Some fraudsters send e-mails that look like they're coming from eBay, but if you click links contained in these e-mails, you'll actually be directed to a third-party Web site. There, you may have viruses or keyloggers loaded onto your computer, or you may be prompted to enter sensitive personal information to "verify" your account. Don't do it. These are the hallmarks of an identity-theft scam.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Crime Prevention is Everyone's Responsibility"

ORILLIA, Ontario, May 7, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - "Everyone in Ontario can play an important role in making our community safer," OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said today, as Police Week in Ontario commenced.

"Community safety is everyone's responsibility and crime prevention is everyone's business," states Commissioner Fantino. "Our partnerships with our communities are essential in preventing crime and making our citizens safer. The police can't do it alone; we need the support of every resident of Ontario. Police Week is a great opportunity to engage people in our communities on topics such as crime prevention programs and community policing."

The theme of Police Week 2010 is "Building Partnerships for a Safer Community." Police Week runs from May 9 - 15 in Ontario and is dedicated to increasing community awareness and recognition of policing services and strengthening partnerships between police and the community. Police Week 2010 will be celebrated by OPP Detachments throughout Ontario.

"Police Week is an opportunity to show our appreciation to our police officers and their community partners for all they do to keep our communities safe," said Rick Bartoluccci, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. "Ontario is safer and stronger thanks to our police services and the support of the government and all Ontarians."

For more information on Police Week activities in your community please contact your local OPP Detachment.

More details about community safety and crime prevention may be found on-line at: