Age, gender or socio-economic status aren’t barriers to fraud, Detective Sergeant Rob Stewart said at the launch of Fraud Prevention Month at Toronto Police headquarters on February 25.
“We are all equally vulnerable to the fraudster who would convince each and every one of us that they are genuine with their request for money,” he pointed out. “However, the end result in all cases of fraud is the great personal loss to our families and livelihoods.”
The Competition Bureau launched Fraud Prevention Month 12 years ago to encourage Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.
“Fraudsters are developing increasingly sophisticated means of targeting potential victims and new technologies are furthering their ability to do so,” said Competition Bureau assistant deputy commissioner Stephan Luciw. “This means we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and report fraudulent activities when we have been a victim or intended target. We want people to come forward to the authorities, like the Toronto Police, the RCMP, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Bureau and us. We need people to tell their stories.”
Bank of Canada spokesperson Manuel Parreira reminded consumers that the fight against fraud starts with them.
“You, the educated consumer, are the best line of defence,” he said. “Counterfeiting is a crime of opportunity and the success of criminals depend on whether or not retailers and consumers are diligent.
“Our goal is to provide you with the information and tools needed to fight on the frontline. Our goal is also to ensure that consumers and retailers have clear, simple and easy-to-use tools, information and services needed to make that happen. Regardless of the type of fraud, it is quick and easy to fight, once you know what to look for. You work hard at earning your money. Why not invest a few moments learning how to protect it?”
Other speakers at the launch were Kathy Metzger of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Maura Drew-Lyte of the Canadian Bankers Association
The Financial Crimes social media group and the Toronto District School Board have also collaborated to organize a “Don’t be Fooled” event during Fraud Prevention Month in March. It will take place on March 2 at West Hill Collegiate Institute.