Buying insurance off Kijiji or Craigslist? Think again

Aviva Canada warns Canadians about fraudulent "pink slips" 
TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Aviva Canada, one of the country's leading 
providers of home, auto, recreational vehicle, group and business insurance, 
is warning Canadians about the risks of insurance deals that seem too good to 
be true. 
In cooperation with the Toronto Police Service, Aviva Canada is releasing 
details of a recent insurance scam that has left individuals without auto 
insurance coverage and cost them hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of 
"With the anonymity and ease of classified websites, we have seen a sharp 
increase in the amount of fake motor vehicle liability insurance cards, also 
known as pink slips, being sold online," said James Russell, Chief 
Underwriting Officer for Aviva Canada. "Consumers need to be aware that some 
individuals have made a business out of defrauding others and use this type of 
scam as a regular source of income." 
Serafattin (George) Solak has been charged with: 

    --  1 count of Fraud over $5,000
    --  13 counts of Fraud under $5,000
    --  8 counts of Uttering a Forged Document
    --  4 counts of Misleading Receipts
    --  8 provincial charges of Sell, Give, Distribute Insurance Card

On September 10, 2013, Toronto Police Service officers arrested Mr. Solak 
outside of his Edmonton home. The arrest was possible after Aviva Canada 
worked with the Toronto Police Service and the Ontario Crown Attorney's office 
to uncover sufficient evidence for a Canada-wide warrant. He was returned to 
Toronto on September 11, 2013, and was taken directly to 31 Division. He is 
currently in custody awaiting a court appearance in a Toronto courtroom. 
During the arrest, police officers seized fraudulent Aviva Canada motor 
vehicle insurance liability cards.

"We want to emphasize that the charges against Mr. Solak are just one 
instance. Other would-be criminals are trying this over and over again," 
continued Russell. "What people are buying from these individuals is not 
insurance - it's just a piece of paper that comes with a big risk. Any driver 
using a fake insurance slip instead of securing valid coverage could 
potentially be sued for millions of dollars."

The charges were laid by Toronto Police Service after Aviva Canada provided 
evidence of fraudulent activity. It is alleged the Mr. Solak advertised 
insurance for sale on various online classified websites including Kijiji and 
Craigslist. It is also alleged that he met with a number of potential victims 
in person, accepted cash or cheques and provided false motor vehicle liability 
insurance cards.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has also issued a public warning 
about Mr. Solak and his connection to a fake insurance scam.

What happens to those who are caught with false insurance?
Having false insurance means a driver has no insurance at all, which is 
illegal. If it is discovered that a driver has a false insurance card, they 
could be charged with a criminal offence, possibly leading to first-time 
penalties of:
    --  A minimum $5,000 fine, up to a maximum of $25,000.
    --  Vehicle seizure for up to three months, with the owner
        responsible for all storage costs.
    --  Driver's license suspension for up to one year.
    --  For a second conviction the minimum fines double, and there is
        the possibility of being charged with a criminal offence.

What happens to those who have false insurance and who are involved in an auto 
Those having a false insurance card (meaning no valid insurance) and are 
involved in a vehicle collision:
    --  Will not be covered for any collision damage to their vehicle.
    --  Are not eligible to sue anyone else for damage to their vehicle
        or bodily injury, even if they weren't at fault.
    --  Can be sued for damage to the other vehicles involved in, or
        for bodily injuries that resulted from, the accident and will
        be held personally liable leading to wage garnishing or
        property liens.

It is also important to note that if a family member or friend is driving the 
falsely insured vehicle, they can be charged and/or sued for damages.

What can consumers do to protect themselves?
    --  Be mindful that if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely
    --  Never purchase insurance with cash.
    --  Call the company listed on the policy to ensure it is valid.
    --  Never meet in a public place with someone that claims to be an
        insurance representative. Insurance brokers or insurers will
        have branded websites and/or an office; they will not likely
        ask to make a transaction in a public place.
    --  Remember that even if the motor vehicle liability insurance
        card looks legitimate, it could still be a fake.
    --  Report it, report it, report it! If enough consumers alert
        authorities of this activity, fraudsters will be easier to
        capture and convict. Call the Insurance Bureau of Canada's TIPS
        line at 1.877.IBC.TIPS, the Financial Services Commission of
        Ontario's Fraud Hotline
        or call 1-855-5TIP-NOW, or
        Crime Stoppers

What Aviva Canada is doing to fight fraud
Building on already strong capabilities, Aviva Canada has stepped up its tough 
approach to tackling fraud with more dedicated resources and an investment in 
technology that aims to identify fraud and even anticipate the potential for 
fraud before it happens. With an industry-leading anti-fraud team, plus solid 
public sector and industry collaboration, Aviva Canada is well positioned to 
combat fraud better than ever before. The impact of Insurance fraud in Canada 
is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually.

About Aviva Canada Aviva Canada is one of the leading Property and Casualty 
insurance groups in Canada providing home, automobile, recreational vehicle, 
group and business insurance to more than three million customers. A 
wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 3,000 
employees, 25 locations and 1,700 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada 
and its employees invest in positive change including through the Aviva 
Community Fund and Eva's Initiatives, its partner in Aviva's global Street to 
School program to help homeless and other at-risk youth reach their potential.

For more information visit, our blog or our Twitter, Facebook 
and LinkedIn pages.

SOURCE  Aviva Canada Inc. 
Media Contact: Glenn Cooper Senior Manager, Public Relations and Social 
Media Aviva Canada Inc. Desk: (416) 288-2685, Mobile: (416) 523-3225 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
CO: Aviva Canada Inc.
ST: Ontario
-0- Sep/12/2013 18:00 GMT
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