Toronto Woman's Identity Is Stolen Again (and Again)

Posted by Stephanie Mau

on January 26, 2015

Imagine Having Your Identity Stolen Not Just Once, but Thrice

graphic finger print in redThat’s what happened to Meghann Johnston, a Toronto woman for whom identity theft has become something of an unfortunate annual tradition.

In 2012, Meghann’s RBC bank account was accessed by someone claiming to be her, with the identity thief taking out a whopping total of $26,000.

What’s shocking was that the thief wasn’t some type of expert hacker who transferred the money into their own account, and it wasn’t even somebody who had stolen Meghann’s bank card. This identity thief simply waltzed into an RBC branch in Toronto, presented fake ID with Meghann’s name, and was allowed to take out such a substantial amount.

Fortunately, the bank quickly contacted Meghann, telling her to come down to the bank and rectify the situation. Though she got her $26,000 back from the bank, her identity theft worries were far from over.

In 2013, the same thing happened again – but in Oakville. Once again, the thief didn’t have her bank card or even know her PIN – they simply presented fake ID and was able to withdraw the money from her account, even though Meghann had been promised increased security on her account after the first incident.

By now, you know where this story is going. Unfortunately for Meghann, the thief struck once again—in December of 2014.

The details were the same as last time – the thief had no RBC bank card, no PIN, just the same fake ID. And again, it worked perfectly – they were able to withdraw money from her account without issues, despite the fact that Meghann had been promised increased security measures from the bank.

Were Enough Security Measures Taken to Prevent Fraud?

When it happened the second time, RBC had attempted to prevent the fraud from happening again by taking down Johnston’s physical description. But she soon found out that that was barely useful, as her physical description didn’t immediately pop up any time anyone tried to access her account—the teller in charge of the transaction would have to take extra steps to get that information.

Meghann tried to take matters into her own hands by asking RBC to check that anyone who accessed their account would show them a bank card and provide a PIN. However, the bank apparently refused to take such measures.

In such cases of fraud, it’s not just the customer that loses money; it’s the corporation as well. What with RBC having to reimburse her every single time the identity thief struck, they ended up giving her tens of thousands of dollars in compensation. You’d think that with such substantial losses for both their own company and their valued clients, better security measures should be put in place to prevent it from happening again.

If you’re looking for better ways to protect your own company and your clients, a good first step would be implementing an independent ethics reporting system. At the first sign of any wrongdoing, your employees would have an outlet to speak up and you could put a stop to any potential fraud before it happens again (and again).

6 Steps to Implement an Ethics Reporting System