Retail Council of Canada Participates in Fraud Prevention Month



    Organized Crime is Estimated to Cost Canadians $5 Billion a Year

    TORONTO, March 1 /CNW/ - For Canada's retail industry, retail organized
crime is a serious problem and includes everything from shoplifting, container
theft, counterfeiting, refund fraud, to the use of fraudulent credit, debit
and gift cards and identity theft. Fraud can rear its ugly head in many forms
and as each year passes, these crimes become increasingly sophisticated and
brazen. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimates that organized
crime costs Canadians $5 billion a year.
    "Retail Council of Canada is proud to be part of Fraud Prevention Month
and to work with the Competition Bureau to help prevent Canadians from
becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to recognize it, report it
and stop it," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of
Canada (RCC). "It is estimated that retailers lose more than $3 billion a
year, or $8 million a day, to store theft. What is more worrisome, however, is
that today's thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated, therefore posing
an even greater risk to the health and safety of the Canadian public."

    
    Fraud Facts(*):

    -   Organized retail crime in North America is pegged at $40 billion
        annually and growing.
    -   Credit card fraud in Canada resulted in losses of $201 million to
        major credit card companies in 2005.
    -   Debit card fraud in 2005 resulted in losses of $70.4 million.
    -   In 2005, 422,447 counterfeit bank notes were passed and seized in
        Canada.
    -   Container theft has been pegged at $20 billion worldwide.
    

    During the month of March, RCC will undertake a variety of educational
activities to help spread this important message. RCC is working with VISA
Canada to provide educational materials to retailers as part of a countrywide
fraud awareness mall visit campaign. In addition, RCC is partnering with the
Bank of Canada to communicate best practices for spotting counterfeit currency
with its members. RCC's Web site will also contain fraud prevention tips and
information for both retailers and consumers.
    Brisebois continues, "Fraud affects retailers, of every type, of every
size and in every part of the country. With increased competition in retail
and the industry's need to keep prices at a level where customers experience
value, fraud, and in particular, retail organized crime, is one of the biggest
threats to a retailer's continued growth and profitability."
    RCC has long been involved in educating Canadian retailers about fraud
and sharing practical strategies for reducing, preventing and mitigating
theft. Most recently, RCC formed a national Retail Organized Task Force to
specifically deal with the growing problem of retail organized crime and work
with governments, law enforcement and other partners.
    In addition to these efforts, RCC's long-standing Loss Prevention
Committee provides retailers with educational, information sharing and
networking opportunities. The Committee produces a quarterly Loss Prevention
Newsletter to communicate the latest news and best practices with retailers
across Canada. RCC also hosts the annual Retail Loss Prevention Conference and
regional workshops that bring the retail community together to explore and
learn about new retail crimes and prevention strategies. RCC members can also
benefit from access to counterfeit detection equipment through a RCC
partnership with Gemsys.
    "Canada's retail industry still has significant work ahead to combat the
problem of fraud, however, by partnering with the Competition Bureau and
participating in Fraud Prevention Month, we can make significant inroads by
educating the Canadian public on this critical issue," concludes Brisebois.

    (*) Sources: Visa Canada, Interac, Bank of Canada

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail.
It is a not-for-profit association representing more than 40,000 stores of all
retail formats, including independent merchants, regional and national mass
and specialty chains, and online merchants.





For further information:

For further information: Stephanie Petroff, Manager, National Public
Affairs, Retail Council of Canada, (416) 922-0553, ext. 228; e-mail
spetroff@retailcouncil.org


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