Employment Insurance Fraud: “Disturbingly simple,” says a former employee

Mr. Y., who disclosed some of his observations to us on condition of anonymity, worked at the federal agency in the first half of 2021. It knocked me out when I saw how easy it was to cheat on employment insurance, he says. That’s why I wrote to you.

On Wednesday, Radio-Canada reported Service Canada’s refusal to shed more light on the large-scale fraud that was taking place there. There have been reported cases of victims being unknowingly scammed and still having difficulty resolving their case or even receiving their benefits.

I don’t know if the rules have changed since then, but all it took was name, date of birth, and social security number. »

A quote from Mr Y

With this information, an initial claim for benefits could be submitted online easily and without suspicion on the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

According to him, it is also possible to request an extension if a file is active. The new information would then overwrite the information stored in My Service Canada Account, which is still secure to access.

“I’ve seen cases where people have been the target of fraudulent renewal requests that change their address, bank account, mother’s maiden name, phone number, and language without the system recognizing it,” he recalls. When we realized that, we locked the file.

This situation outraged me and contributed to my departure. »

A quote from Mr Y

data seeps in the private sector and financial institutions in Quebec have led, according to Service Canada itself, a significantly higher number of fraud cases related to identity theft.

Back then, Mr. Y recalls, agents were forbidden to use the word Amounted to. We had to talk about irregularitieshe says.

The majority of the cases he had to deal with did not correspond to the tags of thecommon reference book. freestyle pour savoir quoi faire.”,”text”:”On appelait le soutien aux agents, affirme-t-il, mais il n’y avait pas de lignes directrices. C’était du freestyle pour savoir quoi faire.”}}”>Agent support was called, he says, but there were no guidelines. It was from freestyle to know what to do.

Measures to protect the integrity of benefit programssays the agency, have now become their system.

Cheated without ever having been unemployed

Questions to which we did not receive clear answers from Service Canada included the following: Have false benefit claims occurred on behalf of individuals who have never claimed EI?

The publication of our story has resulted in an avalanche of emails from victims who still haven’t managed to sort their files.

Émile Pottier, an engineer by trade who has never been unemployed in his life, replies Yes. In January, I happened to notice on the Canada Revenue Agency portal that there was a T4E, he writes. Service Canada informed me that they have already noticed fraudulent activity, blocked further payments and [étaient] remedy the situation.

The criminals’ request was made in August 2021 without ever being informed. Mr. Pottier is still waiting for a modified T4E eight months after the identity theft. When filing his income tax return, he therefore had to enter amounts that he had never seen.

It’s surprising and frustrating that months later, taxpayers have to shell out the money for the scam and endure the administrative hassle. »

A quote from Émile Pottier, victim of a scam

Service Canada points this out Citizens who suspect that their social security number contains inappropriate activity not attributable to their own actions should report it to Service Canada as soon as possible.

Out of changes have been made

Meanwhile, many EI applicants are still waiting for the requested checks. To date, over 14,500 customers have had their accounts recovered.

During Thursday’s Question Time in the House of Commons, Minister for Family, Children and Social Development Karina Gould underlined this in response to the Bloc Québécois aware that fraud cases are increasing.

Changes have been made to Service Canada to ensure people with eligible claims receive their benefitsShe added.

To date, Service Canada has not been able to tell us how many files have been compromised and are still being reviewed.

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