So you're on the hunt for car insurance coverage - would you turn to classifieds sites like Kijiji or Craigslist to find a deal? Consumers who do should tread with caution - a recent arrest of a large-scale insurance fraudster has one of Canada’s leading insurance providers warning consumers to be diligent.
“Following an investigation conducted by Aviva Canada and the Toronto Police Service, a man was arrested and is facing 34 charges including 14 fraud-related charges for the sale and distribution of fraudulent motor vehicle liability cards,” explains Glenn Cooper, spokesperson for Aviva Canada. George Solak was taken into custody in Edmonton on September 10; during his arrest, police discovered fraudulent Aviva Canada motor vehicle insurance liability cards.
Use Smarts When Searching
Solak’s arrest highlights the rise of a certain breed of insurance fraud in Canada in which faked pink slips are being sold to drivers searching for lower rates.
Solak is accused of advertising the insurance cards on Kijiji and Craigslist — marketplace websites that can make it easier for fraudsters to tempt deal-hungry consumers. “While these sorts of scams have always existed, marketplace sites provide an easier platform for fraudsters to reach potential victims,” Cooper says. “Any insurance advertisement on a classified website should always be questioned.”
So how can consumers determine whether an online marketplace ad for insurance is legitimate or not? “Advertisements by a reputable broker or insurance company will direct you to their website or a phone number,” says Cooper. “Many ‘scam’ ads will ask customers to pay in cash or request a meeting outside of a typical place of business — like a coffee shop or home.” Drivers should only purchase insurance from a reputable broker.
The Dangers Of Phony Coverage
For those who fall for a scam and purchase fake slips, the consequences are grave. Fake insurance means no insurance; if an uninsured driver gets into a car accident, any costs belong to them and they won’t be able to sue any other party for physical injury or damage done to their car. Not to mention that driving without insurance is illegal. Drivers found with fraudulent cards could be charged with a criminal offence, have their driver’s license suspended for up to a year, and could be ordered to pay between $5,000 and $25,000.
“These scams are putting Canadian consumers in personal and financial risk,” Cooper says. “Consumers should be diligent when buying insurance. If something seems too good to be true, it may be.”