Identity theft: He gets 32 credit cards without him knowing

A young man from the South Shore has been going through a real test for a year after scammers stole his identity by ordering 32 credit cards without his knowledge, for which Desjardins demands thousands of dollars from him.

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“The hamster didn’t stop spinning for a year, I hardly slept last night,” says 22-year-old David Lavoie.

A resident of Sainte-Ambel in Monteregie is tired of constant letters from lawyers and notices of debt collection demanding that he pay off debts he claims he did not have.

A year ago, this roofer was unpleasantly surprised to learn that 21 applications for Visa Desjardins credit cards and Accord D funding totaling $40,000 were submitted to him in 7 days. In recent months, 11 additional cards have been issued.

When applying for Accord D funding, the amount is paid directly into the applicant’s checking account. Each request is tied to a credit card number.

“I immediately told Desjardins that I did not make such requests,” recalls David Lavoie.

However, it is too late when he realizes this. The money was credited to his account and then withdrawn within a few days.

When he contacted the foundation, a fraud investigation was launched. In the following weeks, the young man received 11 credit cards at home, which he did not activate.

Beginning of a nightmare

At the end of the investigation, the financial institution found him liable, because the person who withdrew these amounts had an access password, an access card and a PIN code linked to his account. The fund is asking for $15,000.

Only David Lavoie claims that his identity was usurped, which Desjardins still does not acknowledge, even after months of controversy.

“When I called Desjardins to access my account, they asked me for my mobile number. And there they told me: “This is not the number that I have in the case.” So I couldn’t even log into my account,” he explains.

The young man believes that someone is impersonating him and has changed his phone number.

Fight for your ranking

In addition to the amounts he is being asked to repay, David Lavoie is particularly concerned about the deterioration in his credit score as he is bombarded with payment letters.

“I’ve reached the age where I start wanting a house, but now if it’s not resolved it’s not possible. They even ask for a credit history for an apartment,” he notes.

His quality of life has already suffered.

“I’m going to go home and someone will grab me?” he asks himself.

This fear binds him so much that he prefers to sleep with his girlfriend or with friends.

Desjardins declined to comment.

Timeline of the neverending saga

30 AUGUST 2021

  • David Lavoie goes to his Caisse Populaire Desjardins to recover a lost debit card. The cashier informs him that 21 requests for funding have come into his account and that the money was withdrawn during the previous week. He claims that he is not the source of these requests. An investigation has begun.

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

  • He’s starting to get notifications of non-payment on Visa Desjardins, which he says he didn’t ask for. The fraud investigation is ongoing. He does not worry too much, but asks his grandfather to help him in this matter.

NOVEMBER 24, 2021

  • Desjardins closes the investigation and believes David Lavoie is guilty of complacency in the $37,000 fraud. The foundation is offering the young man $15,000 to close the case.

NOVEMBER 27, 2021

  • He filed an identity theft complaint with the Richelieu-Saint-Laurent police. In a few months, the case will be finally closed due to the absence of the suspect.

DECEMBER 7, 2021

  • Meeting with the lawyer who will represent David Lavoie as late payment notification letters start to pile up.

APRIL 2022 TO JULY 2022

  • More than twenty letters from lawyers and debt collectors are sent by various firms to David Lavoie, instructing him to reimburse transactions carried out using credit cards that he has never seen. In total, 32 credit cards have been issued in his name to date.

Fraud victims are on their own

Cyber-fraud expert says banking institutions need to do more to support fraud victims, not blame them.

“Officially, the bank must make its contribution. Someone who is being scammed doesn’t have to prove they’re not a scammer,” says Patrick Mathieu, co-founder of Hackfest, a group of ethical hackers.

According to him, there is no adequate structure to support customers who are victims of fraud and make their lives easier.

way of the cross

The story of David Lavoie (see text above) testifies to the way of the cross that some clients must go through to admit that they are victims, not authors of a financial scam.

A 22-year-old young man is convinced that the person has changed his personal data and thus considers himself a victim of account theft.

The scammer would use his new account to apply for Visa Desjardins credit cards and Accord D funding to pocket nearly $40,000.

“If a scammer has changed their details, often banks will try to blame the person because they, for example, have lost their password. But the real fault is Desjardins,” said Judge Patrick Mathieu.

“They have not set up a secure system and accept simple passwords,” he continues.

David Lavoie doesn’t know exactly how another person was able to access his account.

According to Patrick Mathieu, this situation is more like an account theft, which has nothing to do with the 2019 Desjardins data breach.

No cooperation

Thus, for almost a year, the young man from Sainte-Ambel tried to convince the financial institution that he was not the source of the fraud he was accused of.

“They told us they were able to prove that David was making transactions. So they were asked at which counter and at what time they took place. Subsequently, I took out his time sheets to show that he was not there, but they never wanted to give us information,” explains his grandfather Daniel Lavoie, who supports his grandson, in this case.

For Patrick Mathieu, this example is a good example of the shortcomings of defrauded customer support processes.

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