LAWPRO continues to see high levels of real estate fraud activity. Lawyers and real estate clerks should be on high alert for mortgage frauds.

In some instances, fraudsters appear to have used photo ID, issued by different authorities, or issued years apart, but where the documents used the same picture. In these cases, it’s clear that a fraudulent ID is being used.

Also, as of 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada retired the Citizenship Card and replaced it with the Citizenship Certificate. You can find examples from the Government of Canada of both Canadian citizenship certificates and citizenship cards here. If your client is using a citizenship card as ID, proceed with caution. Note that a re-laminated card is not valid as proof of citizenship, as it blurs the security features of the original and makes it difficult to detect fake cards.

Easy tips for verifying ID

  • Is the person smiling? Smiling isn’t allowed in government ID.
  • Compare the images on the different pieces of ID – They shouldn’t be the exact same image
  • Verify the date on the IDs. Does the person look like they’ve aged if the ID was from some time ago? If two pieces of ID are many years apart but the image doesn’t reflect whether the person has aged, ask questions.
  • Does the minister on the ID match who was in office at the time the ID was issued?
  • Is the signature similar to your client’s?

And lawyers may also find it useful to review the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s tip sheet on how to ensure IDs are legitimate.

Be on alert for these and other red flags of fake IDs. To learn more about real estate fraud prevention, visit practicePRO’s Fraud Prevention page.

Categories: Fraud Prevention