GM Financial Employee Charged in Identity Theft Ring
26 August 2015
One of the most insidious forms of identity theft is one that is committed by an employee of a large financial organization. These employees have access to customers’ detailed personal and financial information, and since this information is worth a good deal of money on the black market, they occasionally decide to take advantage of the opportunity to sell it.
This was the case in an identity theft ring recently discovered by Halton Regional Police. According to Detective Mark Underwood of the Halton Police Fraud Unit, the police first became aware of the ring when they arrested two women from Quebec at a motel in Burlington, Ontario. They were initially arrested for driving a car with a stolen license plate, but the police also found that they were using nine separate stolen identities to apply for lines of credit and open bank accounts.
When the source of these identities was investigated, it was discovered to be a Toronto man, Moussa Kante, who had previously worked at General Motors (GM) Financial, the financing arm of the automotive company. His job there, and previously at Financial Linx, gave him access to numerous customers’ personal information. Kante, 48, has been charged with making identity information available for a fraudulent purpose. The two Quebec women, Cynthia Gilbert and Line Pharand, have both been charged with several offenses related to credit card fraud, including unauthorized use of credit card data, possession of identity information and possession of property obtained by crime.
Underwood told InsideHalton.com that the number of victims could potentially be in the thousands, given the size of GM Financial. The company is cooperating with the police investigation, analyzing its systems to determine which customers’ information may have been compromised. The company plans to contact those who may have been affected by mail as soon as the analysis is complete.
Once you become aware that your information has been compromised in a way that might lead to identity fraud, it’s important to act immediately to mitigate the risks of fraud. The crimes committed using your personal and financial information can take years to come to light, and it might be too late to preserve your credit score by the time you discover them.
For example, the Coquitlam RCMP recently reopened a case from last year when a man whose wallet had been stolen in 2014 discovered that his information had been used to open a cell phone account. He found out about the fraud a full year later, when collection agencies started calling him about unpaid bills on the account.
To help avoid extreme damage if this type of thing were to happen to you, be extra vigilant about checking your credit score and monitoring your accounts. A credit monitoring service can help you by alerting you to certain types of activity on your credit file that might indicate fraud, so consider signing up for one to keep better track of your credit file.