Canadians warned about 'ghost brokers' selling fake auto insurance
Published Sunday, March 17, 2019 10:00PM EDT
A Hamilton, Ont., mother says she lost thousands of dollars and the right to drive her car after a “ghost broker” sold her bogus auto insurance.
Inass Mohmed was in a collision last year and phoned her insurance company to make a claim. That’s when she found out her insurance slip was fake.
“I cry, I start shaking, my heart is beeping,” Mohmed told CTV’s W5. “It’s a shock,” she added. “I lose my car.”
Not only did Mohmed lose her car but police ticketed her for driving without insurance, and fined her $5,000.
Believing Mohmed had been defrauded, a team from Aviva Insurance and Desjardins General Insurance decided to help.
A private investigator tracked down the man whom Mohamed says sold her fake insurance, and recorded him exchanging documents for cash.
Sherif Aly, 38, was later arrested and charged with fraud. W5 obtained exclusive access to footage showing the undercover work.
None of the allegations have been tested in court. Aly refused to provide comment.
The insurance documents provided by ghost brokers may look real. Only zooming in closely makes it clear that they are altered.
Chris Vinall, director of the special investigations unit at Desjardins, said that “ghost brokers” advertise on social media, through word of mouth and on the website Kijiji.
He said that ghost brokers are a big problem in the United Kingdom, and he believes there are more operating in Canada.
Colm Holmes, the CEO of Aviva, says it’s often new Canadians who are targeted, although the scam can happen to anyone.
“Make sure you’re dealing with a licensed broker or a licensed agent,” he warned. “And if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”