June 3, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Getting compensation after identity theft at Desjardins is difficult

Getting compensation after identity theft at Desjardins is difficult

Desperation overcomes many Desjardins members who have been victims of identity theft Data leak This has reduced the contribution in 2019. Some have resigned themselves to throwing in their hands at the enormity of the documentary evidence to be furnished, and given up hope of any redress for the fraud committed without their knowledge.

The settlement, reached as part of a class action on behalf of 9.7 million Desjardins members affected by the data breach, provides $1000 compensation 1 for those who have suffered identity thefter January 2017 inclusive.

To obtain compensation, claimants must provide “documentary evidence” showing fraud on their behalf. According to the many evidences collected by the process destinySometimes resembles Asterix’s “Madhouse”.

Unobtainable documents, denied police reports, too little delay to rectify a claim in dispute: when faced with obstacles, many, one day, stop getting any compensation.

Four attempts, four failures

Jean-Francois Rochet thought he had everything in hand to get compensation. At the height of the pandemic, a stranger Claim the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (PCU) on his behalf. After countless hours on the phone waiting to speak to someone, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) finally detected the fraud and cleared his file.

But the airline pilot has no written proof of his misadventure and its outcome. In his online file, he found a reimbursement of $3,000 he had unknowingly collected, plus an acknowledgment of the CRA’s mistake. Screenshots showing one and the other, Mr. Rochette thought were enough to get him compensation.

To back up his claim, he attached documents prepared by his accountant that a fraud had altered his taxes.

Desjardins’ request was initially rejected because the documentary evidence was insufficient in the eyes of Risepoint, the administrator appointed by Desjardins to administer the compensation program. Jean-Francois Rochet took 45 days to correct his claim. During this time, he knocked on the doors of four government agencies hoping to get a document confirming the fraud that had taken place. Each time, he received another rejection.

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“I called the Canada Revenue Agency thinking I would get proof, Mr. Rochette said, but she told me she would not provide any documents to prove the fraud. »

The CRA instead referred him to Service Canada, which directed him to Revenue Quebec, which directed him to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. No one could help him: after waiting for hours on the phone each time to explain his situation, the pilot saw resignation overcome him.

“I gave up,” he explained. I have until December 19th and don’t know where to go to get my hands on the document. It’s a waste of money and time… I’m certainly not the only one: I don’t know for anyone it’s easy. »

“Non-Existing Document”

Sarah Power went on the same journey. She was also a victim of PCU fraud in the summer of 2020 and had to fight for two years to settle her case. “It’s amazing,” she quipped. Every now and then, I need to talk to people who don’t know my file and don’t really know what to do. »

The CRA eventually detected the fraud, but only over the phone. “I have never received any documents stating that I have been the victim of a crime,” said Mme power She sued Desjardins for $1,000 in compensation — unsuccessfully.

“I sent two T4s, the first showing the fraudulently collected $6,000 PCU and the other voiding them. I have also sent screenshots of my statement to Anti Fraud Centre. To be sure, I have attached a letter I wrote to the CRA explaining that I had been defrauded, as well as a copy of the emails I exchanged with my accountant. »

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Response from RicePoint: No information. Sarah Power contacted the administrator, who was unable to explain to her what specific documents she needed. A document that Jean-Francois Rochet tried to obtain was a letter from the CRA that a man told him could possibly unlock his file.

“I really don’t want to do business with an agency: I had to call them every month for two years to resolve identity theft,” says Sarah Power.

The new mother, despite her presence and lack of time, decided to throw in the towel. “I don’t need $1,000: I’m a doctor,” Sarah Power explains. For me, it is not a question of money. This is just for principle. »

destiny Three more pieces of evidence were collected citing difficulties for claimants in obtaining compensation. Gabriel Laurin, an accountant who was defrauded at PCU, sent a detailed log of events. destiny Five pages of documents sent to Ricepoint were able to be viewed. They include, in particular, screenshots of his CRA file, along with a report from the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, detailing events and actions taken.

His claim was also denied. “I worked full-time during the pandemic, it was impossible for me to touch the PCU, he argued. What the administrator is asking me is the end of the investigation. It’s like asking me for something that doesn’t exist!”

“Make it easy to complain”

At that time to approve the deal last summer, Quebec’s Superior Court ruled that members who are victims of identity theft can submit “various documents,” including screenshots, to seek compensation. “All this, adds Magistrate Claude Bouchard to facilitate [l]complaint »

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Desjardins said to have Receiving calls from members requesting documentation to support their claim with RicePoint. The cooperative emphasized that it was not an arbitrator and a party in the matter: it was the administrator who established eligibility criteria and determined the validity of claims.

Ricepoint did not respond to questions from or an interview request to have. According to the legal agreement, the administrator is obliged to transmit a report within the first 120 days of the year, indicating the specific number of claims received – and rejected.

destiny The two attorneys who led the class action against Desjardins were contacted. MThere are Karim Diallo and Jeremy Langpre, of the firms Siskinds Desmuels and Kugler Condestine, indicated they had never heard of the obstacles plaintiffs faced.

Me However, Diallo clarified that the court may issue new orders if unforeseen difficulties arise in the claims process. Administrator or Claims may make a request if deemed necessary.

Sarah Power, for her part, is considering leaving Desjardins to take justice into her own hands. “This has been my fund since I was in elementary school, but in the last two years, it has mainly been a source of great frustration and I have been thinking about changing institutions. »

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