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2 Toronto residents face 18 forgery charges in 'secret shopper' fraud probe

October 13, 2016 - 5:48 AM

LONDON, Ont. - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police say two Toronto residents are facing a total of 18 forgery charges arising from a nine-month investigation into what investigators are calling a "sophisticated mass-market text fraud."

The investigation began in January when the RCMP was alerted by HCM Staffing Solutions that forged cheques bearing their company logo were being deposited by alleged victims in a so-called secret shopper fraud.

Police say they seized equipment capable of sending out 96,000 texts per day to random Canadians, allegedly in an attempt to victimize them, from a west-end Toronto apartment.

Investigators called the apartment a one-stop shop for sending text solicitations and forging cheques that appeared to be from reputable businesses.

It's alleged those who responded to the text received a custom-forged cheque, which they were to deposit into their own bank account and then wire the money overseas to alleged confederates of the accused.

Police say when the bank discovered the forgery, it was the victim who had to repay the money and investigators allege each batch of 96,000 text messages had the potential to result in approximately $400,000 being stolen from Canadians.

In addition to HCM Staffing Solutions, Goeasy Ltd., and Ivari Insurance were among the Canadian companies whose logos were used.

Police say anyone who receives a cheque in the mail is urged to contact the company purported to have issued it to confirm its authenticity prior to depositing it.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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