Teachers who alerted the government this summer to their identity theft by Canada Emergency Benefit (CEP) scammers are now receiving tax forms, as if they had pocketed the money. They still see a long process to report this problem, which they thought was resolved.

“It’s ordinary. It seems that there is no consistency, that Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are not talking to each other, ”laments Caroline Mayrand. The music teacher of the Eastern Townships, however, believed that her case had finally been settled, after the discovery of fraud of government benefits in her name, this summer, had forced her to contact the police, the Equifax credit reporting agency and the federal government. A Service Canada agent then assured him that everything was back to normal.

Earlier this month, however, she received from the federal government a T4E: Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits form, which states that she received $ 5,000 in ECPs and benefits. employment insurance, which in theory it must declare for tax purposes. “Looks like it never ends!” She concludes, resigned to having to spend hours on the phone again to find out whether or not she should include this erroneous notice in her income tax return.

Three other teachers joined by The duty, Sunday, confided to ask the same question. Visiting a Facebook group with more than a thousand members and reserved for teachers who are victims of identity theft suggests that several of them have also received an incorrect T4E form in recent weeks.

Teachers at risk

Many Quebec teachers have been targeted by fraudsters since the theft of the personal data of almost all of them, reported The duty in August. In a letter sent to its teachers, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES) admitted that the fraudulent use of an access code and a password of its computer system would be the origin of the leak. In November, the Financial Crime Investigations Division of the Sûreté du Québec announced the arrest of three men in connection with cases of “identity theft of persons all working in the field of education”. According to the survey, carried out in collaboration with the MEES, these individuals would have used a computer without authorization, compromised credit card data and committed identity theft and fraud in the spring of 2018. However, most of the teachers consulted by The duty were also victims of personal data theft at Desjardins, which makes it difficult to know for sure how the PKU fraudsters went about obtaining their confidential information.

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For Francis Giguère, a teacher in Nord-du-Québec, fraudulent credit applications began around 2017, both from banks and large-scale businesses. “Since then, it hasn’t stopped. Every six months there is a new case, ”he says.

I am shocked, discouraged… I am really tired. I’ve been going through this for several years.

Last June, a routine check by Service Canada uncovered another attempted fraud committed on its behalf, this time with the emergency program put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the PCU. After he had done all the formalities with the institution, he was assured that no sum had been paid to the fraudster and that his file was closed. However, the receipt of the T4E tax form last week indicates the opposite. The federal government claims that it received $ 2,000 from PCU.

“I’m shocked, discouraged… I’m really tired. I’ve been going through this for several years. […] I still have to call back, and it’s annoying because they are only open during working hours, and I have moderately enough time to sit down and have three hours in line in front of me to reach them ”, explains Mr. Giguère.

A teacher in Marieville, Montérégie, Caroline Massé-Bouchard had the same surprise when she learned from her accountant that the federal government considers that she pocketed $ 2,000 in PCUs. And this, while the discovery of suspicious activities in his file by officials, in the spring, had made it possible to block any sending of money to his fraudster, he was assured. “I’m lucky because I work four days a week. But how do you do when you’re a full-time teacher and you have to spend hours on the phone to sort it out? She asks herself. According to all the stakeholders contacted for this report, the process with Service Canada usually takes several hours.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) referred questions from Duty at Employment and Social Development Canada, the department responsible for sending T4E forms. This ministry was unable to provide us with an answer on Sunday. It was still not clear at the time of this writing whether the CRA was asking victims of identity theft to include on their tax returns the amounts of ECPs they never received.

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