Fraud Prevention Remains Top Priority for Police and Financial Services
ORILLIA, ON, March 28, 2014 /CNW/ - As part of Fraud Prevention Month,
the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) believes greater awareness can help
prevent consumers from becoming victims of fraud through identity theft and payment cards.
Typical identity theft cases include situations where government
documents -- such as drivers' licences, health cards, Social Insurance
Number (S.I.N.) cards and birth certificates -- have been unlawfully
obtained or forged. Criminals can use your stolen identity documents
access your computer and email accounts
access your bank accounts, open new bank accounts or transfer bank
apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services
hide their criminal activities
obtain passports or receive government benefits.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), in 2013 there were 6,275 complaints of identity theft in Canada. Of those complaints, 4,898 victims were identified and their combined financial losses exceeded $11-million.
The consequences of having your identity compromised can have lasting
effects on your life including potential employers, individual finances
and credit ratings, and your dealings with government and other
The OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau - Identity Crimes Unit also makes use of stronger legislative tools with which to charge
criminals for possessing the personal information of others and prevent
it from being used for fraud or theft.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity or payment card
fraud, contact your local police service or Crime Stoppers at
FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.
"Criminals are able to convert your stolen personal information into
documents and other tools to further support other crimes. Managing
your personal information wisely and cautiously can help prevent identity theft."
- Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
"Knowledge is power. Consumers can take some basic steps to better
protect themselves from becoming a victim, such as never giving out
personal information over the phone or over the internet if you are not
sure with whom you are dealing, or by only carrying the identification
documents that you need."
- Detective Inspector Paul Beesley, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch
FAST FACTS ABOUT FRAUD
Mass-marketing fraud (MMF) in Canada and particularly Ontario continues
to grow at an alarming pace. A 2008 study by the Environics Research
Group concluded that two-thirds of Canadians have been targeted by
criminal mass marketers.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reports that, in 2013, more than
31,000 Canadians reported that they had fallen prey to organized
criminal fraudsters for a total reported loss of over $63-million.
Almost one-third of complaints to the CAFC come from Ontarians who
suffered a reported loss of $31-million to criminal mass-marketers in
The CAFC estimates that mass-marketing fraud reporting rates are less
than 5% of actual victims. Losses to Ontarians from mass marketing
fraud in 2013 are estimated to have exceeded $600 million -- or close
to $2-million per day. Many of these real dollar losses occurred to
individual, ordinary Ontarians who may lose all or a significant
portion of their life's savings.
OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month
OPP Crime Prevention Section -- Tip Sheet
The OPP Identity Crimes Unit has a number of tips and contacts to help you avoid becoming a victim
of identity theft at this link.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) - Identity Theft
For a Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Identity Theft Victims' Guide, click here (PDF file)
MEDIA NOTE: This is the last of four weekly OPP media releases on various criminal
activities as part of Fraud Prevention Month.
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Detective Constable Ted Schendera
OPP Anti-Rackets Branch