Fraud affects a large number of consumer and businesses, undermines the economy, and robs people of their savings and dignity. The RCMP Commercial Crime Branch estimates Canadian fraud to cost between $10 billion to $30 billion annually.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of fraud schemes trying to get people to part with their money. In today’s economic times, many Albertans are keeping a close eye on their wallets. While law enforcement, government agencies and other consumer organizations are working diligently to detect and disrupt fraud, individuals should still be aware of the potential risks of becoming a victim of fraud.
The top schemes reported by Canadians according the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are: “service”, “prize” and “emergency.” Some examples include home renovation, sweepstakes, lottery and charity or disaster relief. The CAFC has found that almost 80% of these crimes are being committed by organized crime groups.
Fraud Prevention Month is recognized in 24 countries worldwide. Throughout March, activities across the province will remind Albertans to take some important steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud and to ‘Recognize it. Report it. Stop it.’ In an effort to increase awareness, law enforcement, government agencies and other community organizations have formed Fraud Prevention Alberta. Partners include: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner; Service Alberta; Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security; Seniors and Community Supports; Interac; Alberta Securities Commission; Alberta Crime Prevention; Competition Bureau; Bank of Canada; Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; RCMP; Lethbridge Regional Police Service; Calgary Police Service; Edmonton Police Service; and Alberta Motor Association.
To reflect current trends, throughout March, Fraud Prevention Alberta members will highlight the following types of scams:
- March 1 – 4 (week 1): Social networks
- March 7 – 11 (week 2): Pin and card fraud
- March 14 – 18 (week 3): Mass marketing fraud
- March 21 – 31 (weeks 4 and 5): Identity theft
Join Fraud Prevention Alberta on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FraudPrevAB for updates, events and tips on protecting yourself and your family from fraud. For more information on fraud-related crime and awareness events being held in March, please visit www.accpa.org and http://competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_00122.html.
If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact your local police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll-free from anywhere in North America, at 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre.ca.
Note: This news release was distributed in partnership with RCMP – K Division, Calgary Police Service and Lethbridge Regional Police Service.