Our speaker this week was Constable Nick Harris. Nick emigrated from Solihull, England in 2002 with his wife Alison. They now have 2 boys - 3 years and 4 months old. Nick  has a degree in Podiatric medicine from the UK but because of political reasons is unable to practice in Canada.

 

Nick joined Peel Regional Police in 2003 and initially most of his time was spent as a first response officer and prisoner cell officer.

He is now part of the Neighbourhood Police Bureau and is currently assigned to Glenforest secondary school. 

Nick spoke to us about fraud - credit/debit fraud and identity theft. At least half of the people at the meeting had been the victim of debit or credit card fraud.

His advice was to use your credit card wherever possible rather than your debit card. If your credit card is compromised, the bank will cancel the old one, issue a new one and you will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges. If your debit card is compromised, the banks often do not replace monies stolen, and if they do they will put you through a rigorous interrogation. You will have to prove to them that you, your family and friends were not involved in the theft - not so easy to do. If your debit card is stolen, the card will be often used just before midnight and then again a few minutes after - taking advantage or 2 days worth of maximum withdrawals from your account.

If you see either of your cards being  swiped twice you should question why. If the card is swiped into a second machine you should demand to know what the machine is and if you are not satisfied with the answer you should talk to a manager .

Nick enlightened us on the ways crooks can obtain our credit/debit card information and said that the crooks are often more computer savy than the people working for the credit/debit card companies.

Identity theft is also known as personation. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should carry their SIN card or birth certificate around with them - they should be locked in your safe at home. The less you carry around with you the better. If your purse or wallet are stolen, the less in them, the less likely someone can become you.  Nick also suggested we shred all bills once they are paid - it is amazing how many people are prepared to go through peoples' garbage to get personal information for identity theft. It is always a good idea to do talk to Equifax once a year and review your credit bureau. If there are inquiries from companies you have never dealt with, someone could have stolen your identity.

Nick concluded his very interesting/informative talk with a story of a gentleman who came into the country and when asked if he had anything to declare he put a bag on the counter and declared $2MM+ in cash. The fraud police were immediately called. The man had been in the USA and had over 400 credit cards. Just before he left he had taken a $5,000 cash advance against each. He told the police he was going to be a day trader and would pay off the loans with his profits! Because, at that time, no laws had been broken, there was nothing anyone could do.

A great speaker and those who were not there missed a fantastic evening. Thanks to Cindy for her recommendation and Louise for booking Nick for us.