20 years of fighting fraud – where are we now?

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

March is Fraud Prevention Month and the campaign will focus on “20 years of fighting fraud – where are we now?” 

The 2024 campaign will showcase the way fraud has evolved over the past 20 years. The goal of the campaign is to empower Canadians with information, tools, and strategies to recognize, reject and report fraud.

“Being able to recognize techniques used by cybercriminals will go a long way in helping Canadians combat cyber-enabled frauds. In the past 20 years, technology has transformed the fraud landscape, which is more widespread and sophisticated than ever before. Information, tips, and strategies help Ontarians fight back against cyber-enabled fraud,” says a police news release.

In 2023, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received fraud reports totalling a staggering $554 million in victim losses, surpassing the 2022 historic loss amounts of $530 million. With the evolution of fraud, 75 per cent of overall losses reported to the CAFC are from cyber-enabled fraud, and this is expected to increase year over year.

It is estimated that only five to 10 per cent of victims report scams and frauds to the CAFC or law enforcement.

“Fraud losses within Ontario and throughout Canada continue to rise to unprecedented levels, which devastates the lives of our friends, colleagues, family members and businesses,” says Mike Bickerton, OPP Detective Superintendent. “One of the strongest and most effective methods we have to combat fraud is through enhanced public knowledge and cyber awareness.” 

According to the CAFC, in 2023, the top five frauds affecting Canadians daily were:

  • Investment frauds represented $309 million in reported losses in 2023. Ontario victims reported losing more than $111.2 million. 
  • Spear phishing frauds (Business Email Compromise) represented $58.2 million in reported losses in 2023. Ontario victims reported losing more than $21.3 million.
  • Romance frauds represented $50.3 million in reported losses in 2023. Ontario victims reported losing more than $21.3 million. 
  • Job scams represented $27.7 million in reported losses in 2023. Ontario victims reported losing more than $9.4 million.
  • Service frauds represented $22.2 million in reported losses in 2023. Ontario victims reported losing more than $8.3 million.

“The incidents of fraud in Ontario are among the highest in the country,” says Stephen Buchanan, Acting Detective Inspector, Anti-Rackets Branch.”Throughout March, the OPP along with the CAFC hope to raise awareness of the growing need for deterrence and reporting of fraud against the people of Ontario and in particular those in our vulnerable populations.”

How Modern Fraudsters Use Technology

Fraudsters will create spoofed websites, use spoofed telephone numbers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to mimic legitimate numbers, will have victims download remote-entry software providing access to devices and computers or send out phishing texts with hyperlinks imitating legitimate businesses or governments offering refunds, rebates or requiring payments.

Take Action

Join the OPP in raising awareness in March 2024. Our law enforcement partners will be posting social media tips, bulletins, and various other resources.

  • On March 21, at 12:30 p.m. the OPP, CAFC, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Canada Post, and the Canadian Money Services Business Association, will be hosting a live chat to discuss tools fraudsters use to victimize Ontario residents. You can view this live chat on the OPP’s X and Facebook.

Remember, if you become a victim of fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System, even if a financial loss did not occur.

Meanwhile, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has made the following statement:

 Canada is a destination of choice for people from around the world who want to come here to work, study, and build a life with their families. While welcoming these newcomers, who bring with them the skills our economy needs to grow, we must continue to take concrete measures to combat immigration fraud and protect Canadians and people who wish to establish themselves in the country in good faith.

Fraud Prevention Month is an opportunity to highlight the risks of immigration fraud and some common warning signs. This knowledge prepares newcomers and those wishing to come to Canada to be vigilant and detect, reject, and report potential fraud and scams.

Part of our work consists of directly raising awareness among international students who wish to continue their studies in Canada. We provide these prospective students with information about study permits, the application process, and common forms of fraud so they can recognize and protect themselves from scams. With measures announced in October 2023 , we are taking action against bad actors who have preyed on real students for profit by working with post-secondary institutions to identify fraudulent acceptance letters.

To help them navigate our immigration system, newcomers can choose to hire a representative to act on their behalf. Unfortunately, some people are eager to exploit the inexperience and anxiety of others for their own gain. That’s why we continue to strengthen the regulations surrounding immigration and citizenship representatives in Canada so that those who need it can benefit from high-quality advice and representation.

People who represent immigrants or give them advice must be authorized to do so. This means that they must be members in good standing of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants, lawyers or other members in good standing of a provincial or territorial bar.

Whichever path you choose, stay informed. Visit the Department’s official website to access accurate and reliable information on IRCC programs. While you’re there, you can get all the forms and instructions you need to apply for a visa, permit or citizenship free of charge.

Together we can prevent immigration fraud. To learn more, including common types of immigration scams and who to report immigration fraud to, visit the Immigration Fraud page. »

This article was originally sourced from www.baytoday.ca