Monday, February 28, 2011

Online fraud accounts for 41 per cent of all funds lost to fraud

Education during March's fraud prevention month is key to safeguarding Canadians

TORONTO, February 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Online fraud continues to rob Canadians of hard-earned income. As much as 41 cents of every dollar lost to fraud is a result of online scams such as phishing emails and spoof websitesi. With 80 per cent of Canadians over 16 years of age onlineii, consumer education regarding cybercrime and fraud prevention is extremely important.

Ahead of fraud prevention month in March, PayPal Canada's Blog is available to provide tips on:

...How to recognize types of online scams such as phishing emails and spoof websites.

...Tips for how Canadian consumers can best protect themselves against identity theft and fraud online.

...An understanding of some of the protections that exist to keep consumers safe when shopping and sending money over the Internet.

PayPal's fraud models and verification techniques are recognized as some of the strongest in the industry and, because PayPal never shares users' financial information, security and privacy are built into the service. Canadians make an online transaction with PayPal once every second, and with over four million active accounts in Canada, PayPal is a leader in the Canadian e-commerce space.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ICBC's Facial Recognition Technology Protects Customers by Identifying Fraud

VANCOUVER, February 23, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Two years after it was introduced, ICBC's use of facial recognition technology has had a dramatic impact on helping to protect our customers from identity theft and fraud.

In 2010, the technology - which enables ICBC to compare a cardholder's image with their existing image on file and with an entire database of millions of images - played a vital role in a number of convictions. The technology works by analyzing facial characteristics that do not change, such as the size and location of cheekbones and the distance between the eyes.

"We've always been proud of the security of our driver licensing system but facial recognition technology has taken us to a new level in protecting our customers," said Fred Hess, vice president of driver licensing at ICBC. "We're now at the forefront of identity protection."

Here are a few of the many cases of identity theft and fraud that we uncovered in 2010 through the use of facial recognition technology:

...Kelowna: A woman attended the local driver licensing centre and took a road test in the name of her sister. Facial recognition technology matched her image to her own driver's licence and we learned she had actually been prohibited from driving. Several months earlier, she was convicted of driving while prohibited and sentenced to 14 days in jail, a $500 fine, one year's prohibition from driving and one year's probation.

...Nanaimo: We discovered that the photo of a Nanaimo resident was attached to two different driver's licences. Our investigation discovered that one of the identities used to obtain a B.C. driver's licence, register and insure several vehicles, was in fact deceased. This led to the man's arrest for 'personation with intent' and several further admissions from him. We learned that he had obtained the fraudulent licence to avoid his criminal history and the restrictions of his parole, and that he had debt with ICBC which prevented him from obtaining a licence in his own name. He pled guilty in December and was fined $5,000.

...Surrey: A Surrey resident applied for a new B.C. driver's licence in Richmond under the identity of another man, which was discovered through our use of facial recognition technology. In working with a federal agency, it became apparent that the gentleman was an illegal immigrant in Canada who had previously been deported due to organized criminal activity. Our discovery led to his arrest and his deportation in December.

...Penticton: A Penticton man was ordered to pay more than $13,000 in restitution and received a one-year conditional sentence and one-year of probation for obtaining a B.C. driver's licence in the identity of someone who had died at the age of five, back in 1969. The fraud went uncovered for 15 years before our facial recognition technology caught him. His motive was to avoid the consequences of having a criminal record in his own identity and to collect income assistance while working and collecting employment insurance as the deceased.

...North Vancouver: A man was caught in North Vancouver with a B.C. driver's licence in the name of another person, which he had used to register and insure vehicles while being prohibited from driving and owing debt to ICBC. To make matters worse, he had renewed the licence four times and had more than one at-fault claim while impersonating the other driver. He was punished with thousands of dollars in fines and victim impact surcharges.

"Facial recognition technology is now enabling security checks that were not previously possible and helping to uncover fraud that would not have come to light without it," said Ben Shotton, ICBC's manager of driver licensing integrity. "It's unlikely that any of these charges and convictions would have happened without facial recognition technology so it's clear that it's helping to protect our customers."

"We invest approximately $8 million in fraud and investigate thousands of cases each year because we're dedicated to protecting our customers against fraudulent acts," said Shotton.

ICBC first began using facial recognition technology in late 2008, shortly before launching a new B.C. driver's licence in February 2009. The new high-tech licences are harder to alter, forge or obtain using different identities.

At ICBC, we're committed to our 3.3 million customers and their safety on the road. We license and insure drivers and vehicles across the province through our service centres, plus a network of more than 900 independent brokers and government agent offices. Claims customers are served through local offices and our award-winning Dial-a-Claim call centre. We add value to B.C. communities - our road safety investments help create safer roads, lead to fewer crashes, and help keep our rates stable. To find out more, visit

Follow ICBC on Twitter at or visit the website at

Number of Canadians Concerned about Charity Fraud Up Considerably

CanadaHelps and Capital One Canada launch the second annual charity fraud awareness quiz with $20,000 grand prize

TORONTO, February 24, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians are generous donors, but two-thirds (65%) of them are worried about fraudulent charities, which is up considerably from a survey done in November 2009 (51%). These beliefs, coupled with the difficulty in recovering their lost donation, ultimately results in more than half of Canadians (53%) stating they are less likely to give to charities because of concerns about fraud.

A large proportion, (41%) say they do not take simple steps to check if a charity is registered, ask the solicitor for ID, or visit the charity's website before making a donation and instead rely on the reputation of the charity, and/or, past personal experience with the charity. The survey also found that just over half of Canadians (52%) say they are not confident they would know where to turn to in the event their donation did not go to a legitimate cause.

"What concerns us most is the growing number of Canadians who are worried about these crimes," said Owen Charters, CEO of CanadaHelps. "In educating Canadians to understand the warning signs of these scams, we hope that the well-earned trust in legitimate charities will remain high and Canadians' eagerness to donate will continue to grow."

Today's survey also found that up to 22% of Canadians say they prefer to donate online - an 8 point climb from a similar study conducted in November 2009. In contrast the number of Canadians who say they prefer to donate by cheque is down 7 points over the same time period (from 32% to 25%). Younger Canadians appear to be a driving force behind this change - nearly a third of Canadians aged 18-34 (31%) say online donations are their preferred method.

"With more and more Canadians preferring to donate online, it is increasingly important for credit card users to understand what to look for to ensure they are donating through a legitimate and secure website," said Laurel Ostfield, spokesperson, Capital One Canada. "We know that awareness is key in helping Canadians protect themselves from fraud. By partnering with CanadaHelps on this campaign, we hope to educate as many Canadians as possible so they are empowered to make safe, charitable donations."

To educate the public about charity fraud, Capital One Canada and CanadaHelps are teaming up during Fraud Prevention Month for the second annual Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz. This quiz will help participants identify the signs of charity fraud to hopefully avoid these malicious schemes.

The online Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz is designed to inform Canadians about the risk of charity fraud and how to prevent it. Accessible at, every participant who completes the quiz will be eligible to enter into a draw to win a $20,000 grand prize donation, or one of $1,000 weekly donations from Capital One, to be made to the winner's charity of choice. The Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz runs from March 1-31, 2011.

Capital One and CanadaHelps offer the following charity fraud prevention tips:

...Make sure the charity is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provides you with their charitable registration number. only lists charities registered with the CRA.

...Ask to see a charity's financial statements. These should be readily available to anyone who asks and give you a sense of how the charity spends their money.

...Understand the impact the charity has and what difference they make in the community. Charities should be able to give you clear outcomes of the programs or services they provide.

...Research the causes you want to support and how much of your budget you want to donate to charity. You will feel less pressured to give when solicited if you have already planned your giving.

...Avoid any charity that pressures you into making a donation or isn't open to sharing more information about their organization.

Additional Survey Results:

...77% of Canadians made a charitable donation in the past 12 months with women being more charitable (81%) than men (72%)

...Over one-quarter (28%) of people report they are solicited for charitable donations at least weekly, with 45% saying they get solicited more often in the event of a natural disaster

...In the wake of a natural disaster, the majority of Canadians (61%) report an increased concern over the possibility of charity fraud

...While only 5% of Canadians overall prefer to donate via door-to-door solicitation, a surprising 22% of Atlantic Canadians prefer this method of solicitation

...In terms of deciding who to trust, respondents said the most important factor is a charity's reputation (53%) followed by its media coverage/advertising (31%) and being asked to donate by a friend or colleague (30%)

About the survey

From February 2nd to 3rd, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,008 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About the Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz

No purchase necessary. Each person who completes the online quiz on charity fraud at and provides the name of their preferred charity is automatically given one entry. Organizations must be federally registered charities with the Canadian Revenue Agency. Contest begins at 9:00:00 a.m. ET on March 1, 2011 and closes at 9:00:00 p.m. ET on March 31, 2011. Full contest details at Skill testing question required. Four prizes of a $1,000 donation and one grand prize of a $20,000 donation available to be won. Not open to residents of the Territories.

About Capital One

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, when the company first introduced the Platinum MasterCard in Canada. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF).

About CanadaHelps

CanadaHelps is an online donations website where donors can give safely and securely to all charities in Canada that are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. The mission of CanadaHelps is to engage Canadians in the charitable sector and provide accessible and affordable online technology to both donors and charities to promote - and ultimately increase - charitable giving in Canada.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ONPEA addresses financial abuse: the most common form of elder abuse

TORONTO, February 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's population of residents aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from 1.8 million in 2009 to 4.2 million by 2036*. As this segment of our population continues to increase, reports of elder abuse are on the rise. Elder abuse takes many forms and often goes unreported due to embarrassment, loyalty, fear or guilt. Reported occurrence rates range between 2% and 10%. Those who assist abused victims believe the rate of abuse is closer to 10%.

Canadian studies have found that financial abuse is the most commonly reported form of abuse experienced by older people. Financial abuse can include frauds and scams as well as improper use of the continuing power of attorney. Financial abuse is most commonly a pattern rather than a single event and often happens over a long period of time. The abuser is likely someone trusted such as a family member but may also be a telemarketer or con artist. The victim is often influenced through manipulation, lies or threats.

ONPEA recommends ways seniors can protect their money from abuse:

...Consult your own lawyer to draft a power of attorney document and will.
...Choose people you trust to make decisions about your money.
...Arrange direct deposit for your cheques into your own bank account.
...Speak to your bank manager by yourself, that is, in the absence of your power of attorney, to make sure the bank is aware of your desires and following your directions.
...Set-up automatic payments for your bills.
...Keep your bank PIN number safe and DO NOT share with anyone.
...Keep track of all transactions and regularly review bank statements and financial records, even if you have a Power of Attorney doing this for you.
...Before you sign any document make sure you fully understand it or wait until you have someone you trust review it.
...Lend money only if you want to and always have a signed plan for repayment, even for family members.
...Be aware of your legal rights.
...If anyone is taking advantage of you or your money - TELL SOMEONE.

Where seniors can go for help in Ontario:

...The Seniors' Safety Line 1-866-299-1011 operates 24/7 and in over 150 languages. They can assist with safety planning and provide resources available in communities throughout Ontario.

...The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) 416-916-6728 has regional offices throughout the province.

...Contact local police or OPP. Many regions have task forces and/or officers who specialize in working with seniors.

...Contact Senior Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) for anonymous reporting.


The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) is dedicated to raising awareness of elder abuse and neglect, through public education, professional training, advocacy, and service coordination. In addition to implementing Ontario's Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse, ONPEA supports a growing number of vital projects and research in elder abuse and neglect prevention.

Monday, February 7, 2011

OPP Say Web Savvy Kids are Safer Kids

February 8 is Safer Internet Day 2011

ORILLIA, Ontario, February 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are commemorating Safer Internet Day 2011 by urging young people and their guardians to recognize the risks associated with the wonders presented by the online world.

Safer Internet Day is an international effort to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people through their activities on the internet, through email, and with cell phones. The theme for Safer Internet Day 2011 is "It's more than a game, it's your life."

"The Internet provides excellent learning opportunities for children. But it opens another door to those who would exploit and victimize them. The OPP and our various partners are committed to providing the information young people and parents need to understand the risks as children learn and play in the online world, such as cyber-bullying and exploitation."
- OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis

As part of Safer Internet Day 2011, Corus Entertainment's youth television channel, YTV, has continued its valued partnership with the OPP and the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet. YTV is launching the third in a series of interactive internet safety games. "Dr. Frantic's Cyber Saf-e-Drills 3: Franticball" is an online game on where players can only continue by successfully answering cyber-safety questions. YTV is also reinforcing the safety messages on-air through several animated infomercials and live host mentions of the game and other available resources.

"Internet luring is a serious crime that puts our children's safety at risk. We all have an important job to do to make the internet a safer environment, where kids can not only chat with friends and get help with homework, but also access useful and educational information that helps them grow as individuals."
- Hon. Jim Bradley, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The OPP reminds parents and young people that the internet is a wonderful tool when used wisely. In order to better protect their children from online predators, parents can:

...Be involved and know your child's online activity
...Keep the computer in an open area of the home
...Remind children to protect their passwords; encourage them not to share passwords with friends
...Use caution with web cams, unplug web cams when they're not in use and;
...Be sure of whom they're talking to before allowing them to turn on a web cam
...Make sure children are cautious with what they post online
...Know their child's online friends the same way they know friends in real life

"Our government has zero tolerance for sexual and Internet crimes against children. That's why we are working with all of our partners, as part of Ontario's Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet, to combat this problem."
- Hon. Chris Bentley, Attorney General for Ontario


Canadian Centre for Child Protection internet safety site:

To access the game Dr. Frantic's Cyber Saf-e-Drills 3: Franticball:

For more information about Internet Safety Tips for parents, go to:

For more information about Internet Safety Tips for teens, go to:

For more information about the OPP Crime Prevention Section, go to: