Fraud Prevention Month 2021 focuses on online scams

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March 1, 2021 (Canada) – As Canadians turn to online services and rely on the digital marketplace more than ever, it’s important they have the tools and information they need to protect themselves from online fraud. This month, online scams will be at the centre of the Fraud Prevention Month campaign.

“Fraud has always been a crime that targets many, but since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a noticeable increase in reports of scams and fraud,” said Michel Arcand, assistant commissioner of the Federal Policing Criminal Operations, RCMP. “Many of us have been relying on online services and methods of communication more than ever before and fraudsters are taking advantage of this.”

March marks the 17th year of Fraud Prevention Month, and this year the Competition Bureau will join forces with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) to increase the reach of the fight against online fraud in Canada.

“Fraud and other cyber crimes are evolving at an incredibly fast pace. It is important for Canadian consumers and businesses to develop routine practices to help protect themselves,” said Jeffrey Thomson, Senior RCMP Intelligence Analyst, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. “The CAFC encourages people to slow down, scrutinize and stay informed to reduce fraud. Learn to Recognize, Reject and Report fraud by visiting the CAFC website.”

The RCMP and CAFC’s campaign will focus on warning Canadians about frequent digital frauds and scams and how to report them. The Competition Bureau’s campaign will focus on warning Canadians about online shopping scams and deceptive practices, including non-delivery of goods, subscription traps and fake online reviews. The RCMP and CAFC’s campaign will focus on warning Canadians about frequent digital frauds and scams and how to report them. 

The Competition Bureau initiated the Fraud Prevention Month campaign in 2004, with the support of the Fraud Prevention Forum. The Fraud Prevention Forum consists of more than 60 Canadian organizations, ranging from consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies, police services and law enforcement organizations, to private companies. From Canadian consumers to big corporations, everyone is a potential target of fraud.

Recent statistics from the CAFC show that in 2020 Canadians lost over $106.4 million to fraud, $62.6 million of which was related to online fraud. The actual impact of fraud is likely much larger as the CAFC estimates that Canadians report only 5 per cent of actual fraud cases. 

Organizers are also encouraging people to spread awareness using the hashtag #FPM2021.