GTA brokerages being investigated: Globe and Mail

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A number of mortgage brokerages in the Greater Toronto Area are being audited by the federal privacy commissioner due to concerns over the security of client information, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

The audit resulted from 15 notifications of privacy breaches involving brokerages' handling of personal financial information, Anne-Marie Hayden, a spokeswoman for the privacy commissioner's office told the Globe. She added that the audit is in its preliminary stages and the law does not require the brokerages to come forward with the fact that a breach has occurred.

The article quotes CEO Alex Haditaghi saying there is "tremendous fraud going on in the broker industry," while CAAMP president, Jim Murphy, told the Globe that most brokerages have policies in place to safeguard borrower information, adding that privacy laws are so strict that brokers can have trouble sharing information with police.

When reached, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which is responsible for the oversight of the province's brokers, did not comment on the story, referring CMP to a document from April where it said it had received complaints from mortgage brokerages about agents who were accessing clients' credit information without proper authorization.

"The mortgage brokering industry's reliance on personal information to complete mortgage transactions makes it a target for individuals who wish to gain access to personal information for the purpose of engaging in criminal activities," it said. "Mortgage brokerages must be diligent in their efforts to screen applicants and structure their business practices to minimize the risk to the public."

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