Monday, March 28, 2011

"Real" Family and Friends Wouldn't Do This!

OPP warn you to be wary of 'Emergency Scam'

ORILLIA, Ontario, March 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Con artists prey on the most vulnerable in society, which may include the elderly, who are often hesitant to say 'no' to someone on the phone. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say this type of telephone fraud can easily be prevented by simply hanging up.

The "Emergency Scam" -- sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam" -- has been around for years. Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch have noted a marked increase in the number of complaints in the last few months and warn you to be on alert.

In the usual "emergency" scenario, an elderly person receives a phone call from a con-artist claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren, a friend of the family, or a former neighbour. The caller goes on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and 'need money immediately.' Typically, they claim to have been in a car accident, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country, or they need money for bail. Victims don't verify the story until after the money has been sent through a wire transfer service, as the caller specifically asks that they do not want other relatives to 'know what has happened', saying something similar to, "Don't tell Dad. He would be very upset with me if he found out. Please send the money ASAP. I'm scared."

From January to November 2010, 1073 complaints were made to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC; formerly Phonebusters) by Ontario residents reporting this scam. 195 complaints in Ontario involved victims who were defrauded of more than $853-thousand. That money is often funnelled back into criminal organizations to perpetuate and expand the cycle of illegal activities further victimizing the unsuspecting public.

If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of an 'emergency' money transfer or "Grandparent Scam", contact your local police service or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SeniorBusters Program from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Seniors are targeted for many reasons: loneliness, lack of family support, age vulnerability and for health-related reasons such as Alzheimer's. Seniors are particularly susceptible to fraud schemes because their generation tends to be more trusting and less likely to end conversations. Fraudulent telemarketers build relationships with seniors and gain their trust before victimizing them. Ruined family lives, great financial losses and suicides have resulted from this brutal crime against the elderly.

Unfortunately, staff at the CAFC found they had neither the time nor the resources to follow up with victimized seniors so the Centre decided to enlist volunteer seniors who could help with the battle against mass marketing and identity fraud. The volunteers were able to relate personal experiences, provide support and establish rapport with elderly victims. The “seniors helping seniors” program was named SeniorBusters.

SeniorBusters was officially launched by Premier Mike Harris in October 1997. Since then, it has grown to a group of approximately 50 active volunteers. They come from diverse backgrounds and bring many different skills to the CAFC and its attempt to reduce the level of mass marketing fraud and identity theft. This is clearly a successful and effective long-term strategy in reducing the number of seniors victimized by fraud. SeniorBusters helps fraud victims by;

...Relating personal experiences, wisdom and expertise

...Providing strength to victims

...Providing emotional and moral support

...Being sensitive to the needs of seniors

...Contacting victims as often as needed

...Educating and re-educating seniors

...Obtaining suspect company information

...Referring victims to other appropriate agencies

...Developing personal relationships with victims

...Ensuring that seniors have a place to turn to when they need assistance

...Helping victimized seniors regain personal dignity

SENIORBUSTERS was honored to receive RCMP Commissioner’s Volunteer Award in recognition of their dedication of service and support for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre...get more information here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Security Tips to Help Canadians Fight Debit Card Fraud from Interac®

TORONTO, March 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With Fraud Prevention Month coming to a close at the end of March, Interac Association urges Canadians to remain vigilant about debit card security year-round. Fighting fraud is a collective effort and with a few handy tips in mind, consumers can take steps to stay secure when using Interac services.

"Through sophisticated fraud monitoring, coordination with law enforcement and industry players, and ongoing product innovation, such as the migration to chip technology, we are helping to make a safe payments system even more secure," said Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation.

Recent data from Interac Association shows that debit card fraud has declined year-over-year. Dollars lost to debit card fraud decreased 16 percent from $142.3 million in 2009 to $119 million in 2010. Similarly, the number of Interac Debit cardholders who had funds reimbursed as a result of debit card skimming decreased from 238,000 cardholders in 2009 to 205,200 in 2010 - down 14 percent.

While fraud is a serious concern, the data reflects the safety of the Interac network. In 2010, 99.99 percent of the nearly 4 billion Interac Debit transactions, valued at more than $175 billion dollars, were processed without incident.

"While this decline in fraud is positive, the aggressive fight against fraud continues and we want to remind cardholders that they can also help," said Hubberstey. "With this in mind, we've compiled tips to help cardholders stay security savvy when using their debit cards to make purchases in-store or to obtain money from ABMs."

Interac cardholder security tips:

...Insert first - To avoid an unnecessary swipe of your card and reduce the potential of fraudulent card skimming, insert your chip debit card into a merchant's terminal. If the terminal is not chip capable, it will prompt you to swipe your card.

...Protect your PIN - When entering your PIN at a terminal or ABM, shield your PIN with your hand or body.

...Check your statements - Check your financial statements regularly. If you see unusual activity, contact your financial institution immediately. Cardholders who experience fraud are protected through the Interac Zero Liability Policy and do not suffer any financial losses.

...Memorize your PIN - Do not share your PIN with friends or family members and do not use easily guessable digits, like your year of birth or phone number. Change your PIN frequently.

...Keep your card in sight - Keep your debit card in sight when conducting a transaction at the checkout and remember to remove it from the terminal after.

...Report a lost card - Notify your financial institution immediately if your debit card is lost or stolen.

To learn more about Interac fraud prevention, visit

For more information on chip technology, visit

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

It takes mere seconds to become a victim.

ORILLIA, Ontario, March 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) believe greater awareness and improved security practices can help prevent consumers from becoming victims of identity theft.

Identity theft is the starting point for many types of crimes — credit and debit card fraud, mortgage fraud, and account takeovers among other things. Typical cases involving identity theft include situations where government documents — such as drivers' licenses, health cards, Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.) cards and birth certificates — have been forged or otherwise unlawfully obtained.

"Identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. No one is immune. But everyone can minimize their risk of becoming a victim through greater awareness." - Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations/Organized Crime Command.

The consequences of having your identity compromised can have a profound and long-lasting impact on your individual finances, credit ratings, as well as with your dealings with businesses, government and other agencies.

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 whom you are dealing with, or carrying only the identification documents you need.

"Criminals are technically able to use stolen personal information to obtain documents and support other crimes. Managing your information wisely and cautiously can help you guard against identity theft." - Detective Inspector Bernie Murphy, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.

The OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau - Identity Crimes Unit also makes use of new, 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.

FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.

Learn More

OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month

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)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Be Wary of Investment Fraud Schemes

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Most Likely Is

ORILLIA, Ontario, March 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - If you have been promised big returns for minimal investments, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) suggest it may be the work of heartless fraud artists.

March is Fraud Prevention Month. There are many qualified professionals who can provide investment and financial advice and recommend suitable investments. Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch know that many people seek out alternative investment products through a variety of investment schemes, often with international connections, that do not have your best interests at heart.

Many of these schemes lure victims by promising high rates of return. The perpetrators are usually vague about the details of where the money is invested. They may tell the potential investor that providing too much information may result in getting under-cut and loss of the investment opportunity. In fact, the investor's money is often not invested, and frequently moved to offshore banks which do not honour Canadian banking regulations or procedures. Usually, the money invested in these schemes is not recoverable.

"The harm that can be caused by perpetrators of fraud who prey upon vulnerable people is staggering. The money taken is often funnelled back into criminal organizations to fuel illegal activities, further victimizing the unsuspecting public." - Deputy Commissioner Scott TOD, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.

A well-known example of fraudulent investments is known as a "Ponzi" scheme. Primary investors are paid exceptional dividends as "interest cheques" or sometimes cash. These unbelievably high returns are not, in fact, actual dividends, but come from the deposits of new investors as they come on board.

The perpetrators of Ponzi schemes can keep them going through a variety of ruses and attracting others until the perpetrator has either accumulated his target amount and flees with the profits, has lost the investors' money in other business ventures, or is incarcerated for similar crimes. These types of schemes can go on for several years before the investors realize that they have been defrauded.

"No one is immune to fraud. Common sense is your best protection. Always do your research, talk to others and never be rushed into making an investment decision. If someone is offering you an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." -- Detective Inspector Bernie Murphy, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.

Investors should always exercise caution and carry out due diligence before making investment decisions. If someone is offering you more than the bank is willing to pay, then there is always a risk. The greater the dividend promised, the greater the risk.

FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.


OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) -

For more information on schemes involved with Investment Fraud, visit the Ministry of Government Services website at


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Canada Post reminds customers to safeguard themselves against fraud

OTTAWA, March 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - March is Fraud Prevention Month and Canada Post wants to remind customers that fraud, identity theft and other types of scams can happen anywhere - in your mailbox, via email, on the telephone, discarded documents and more.

One of the fastest growing crimes in Canada is identity theft and it occurs when someone steals your name and other personal information with the intention of assuming your identity to gain access to your finances, make purchases and incur debts in your name, or commit other crimes. In addition to names, addresses and phone numbers, thieves steal social insurance numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card and banking information, bank cards, calling cards, birth certificates and passports. Once this information is stolen, it can be used to finance spending sprees and open new bank accounts, or to redirect your mail and apply for loans, credit cards and social benefits. This kind of criminal activity can ruin an individual's financial credibility which can take a significant amount of time to re-establish.

Common techniques used to obtain personal information fraudulently include:

...Stealing mail, such as bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, and new cheque and tax information, before delivery.

...Stealing delivered mail by breaking into apartment, community and residential mailboxes.

...Completing a fraudulent change of address form to redirect your mail to another location.

...Searching through personal or business trash, or the public trash dumps.

...Breaking into mailboxes, delivery boxes and other Canada Post property to steal incoming or outgoing mail.

Here are some tips to help protect your identity and your mail:

...Pick-up mail as soon as possible after delivery.

...Deposit your mail as close to scheduled pick up time as possible. Do not leave mail overnight in the mailbox.

...Do not discard mail with your personal information on it in the recycling box.

...If you are planning a holiday, arrange for someone to pick up your mail or use Canada Post's hold mail service.

...Do not leave mail in unprotected areas. If the mail has been delivered incorrectly, please write, "delivered to wrong address" on the front of the envelope. If addressed to someone not living at your address, write "not at this address." In either case, deposit the mail into a red street letter box or the outgoing mail slot of your community mailbox at your earliest convenience.

...Shred all personal information. Businesses in particular need to make sure receipts and customer information are shredded before disposing of them in a dumpster.

Canada Post operates PosteCS to support the transmission of confidential and sensitive information in a timely digital environment. For more information go to
Report any suspicious activity to our customer service number 1 800 267-1177.

Canada Post has a team of postal inspectors - the first investigative body established in Canada in 1772. The team helps protect mail by advising on security requirements, investigating reported incidents of mail theft, damage to Canada Post property, fraud, threats to employees, corporate policy violations and mail-related criminal offences - including those which are tied to Identity Theft/Fraud.

Please visit our Postal Security center for more information.

March is Fraud Prevention Month: Beware of phishing scams

FCAC helps consumers protect themselves against fraudulent emails

Ottawa, March 6, 2011 (Canada NewsWire) Canadians should remember that they are not alone when they surf the Web, and that others may be using the Internet for malicious purposes. As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reminds Canadians of the importance of protecting themselves from Internet and email fraud.

“Fraud can take many forms. Nobody is safe from it, not even the most knowledgeable consumer,” says FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke.

One common form of fraud is called “phishing”, where a victim receives a fraudulent email that appears to come from a legitimate organization, such as a Government of Canada department or the victim’s own financial institution. The email instructs the consumer to visit a false website, download fraudulent content or provide confidential personal information.

With your personal information, such as your date of birth, passwords, Social Insurance Number, credit card or bank account information, fraudsters can use your credit card accounts or get new credit cards, and make purchases that you might be held responsible for. If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, you could even become a victim of identity theft.

How can you avoid falling victim to Internet or email fraud?

...Never give out personal information over the Internet unless you trust the site you are on. Check that there is a padlock icon in the Web browser window and that the electronic address begins with “https://”

...Open a single browser window at a time when using online banking, and don’t forget to clear your computer’s memory cache when done.

...Never allow your computer to remember your passwords; change passwords regularly and do not share them with anyone. You can be held responsible for unauthorized transactions on your bank account if you are found to have divulged information about your account, such as your password or personal identification number (PIN).

...Make sure your computer’s antivirus protection is up to date and use the latest version of your Web browser.

...Check to make sure that the Internet address provided in the emails you receive is related to the subject of the emails.

...Access websites using the address bar. Never click on links provided in emails.

FCAC also publishes tip sheets to help Canadian consumers protect themselves against and prevent identity theft, credit card fraud, and fraudulent e-mails and telephone calls. In a video success story, Ken MacDonald, Crime Prevention Coordinator with the New Glasgow Police Service in Nova Scotia, offers some advice about preventing telephone fraud and identity theft. FCAC’s publications and tip sheets are available on the Agency’s website at

Friday, March 4, 2011

How Do Ethical People Commit Fraud?

Pleading ignorance, shifting blame and moral justification, among the six rationalizations identified by new Queen's School of Business research

KINGSTON, Ontario, March 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Although most people would consider themselves ethical, it turns out that we are all very capable of committing fraud according to new research from Queen's School of Business. The three factors that must first be in place are opportunity, motivation and the ability to rationalize our actions.

"Not all fraudsters are bad people, but it's a slippery slope when any of the elements of the 'fraud triangle' are in place that may push them to do something they otherwise would not have," says Pamela Murphy, Professor of Accounting at Queen's School of Business. "Rationalization is perhaps the most insidious of the three factors as this enables someone to maintain their code of ethics and avoid the guilt or self-condemnation that would otherwise have been attributed to an act of fraud."

According to Murphy, there are six categories of rationalization that enable people to commit fraud while still maintaining their ethical principles.

...Pleading ignorance - Ignore or misconstrue the consequences of the act.
The fraudster's response: "I'm not hurting anyone"

...Shifting the blame - Diffuse or displace responsibility elsewhere to not hold yourself responsible.
Caught in the act: "Everybody does it"

...Advantageous comparison - By comparing the wrongful act against a much more flagrant act, the original act looks better.
Wrong doer's evaluation: "This is nothing compared to…"

...Moral justification - Reprehensible acts are re-construed as socially worthy or having a moral purpose.
A non-guilty plea: "I'm protecting the company, employees, my family…"

...Euphemistic labeling - Using convoluted verbiage to make a wrongful act sound better.
Spin master's buzz words: "I'm trying to level the playing field"

...Victim takes the fall - Finding faults with those impacted by the event or circumstance.
Denial of guilt: "They had it coming"

According to a recent report by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, one in three organizations was a victim of fraud within a one year period. This speaks to the need for more recognition of the various factors that can help to predict the likelihood of fraud.

"Armed with the knowledge of these psychological red flags we may be able to detect fraud earlier or potentially prevent all together," said Murphy. "Otherwise, a fraudster looks just the like the rest of us."

About Queen's School of Business
Queen's School of Business is one of the world's premier business schools—renowned for exceptional programs, outstanding faculty and research, and the quality of its graduates. Canadian executives regard Queen's as Canada's most innovative business school, offering students academic excellence and a superior overall experience. Queen's School of Business—where Canada's first Commerce program was launched in 1919—is located at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The School also delivers programs at locations across Canada, as well in the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are you a secure online shopper? Driving Internet security awareness with Interac® tips

TORONTO, March 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With March marking the start of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation are providing Canadians with security tips and advice for online shopping. Canadians are among the highest users of debit cards in the world and with Interac products, they can also carry out transactions with confidence over the Internet.

"During Fraud Prevention Month, we are reminding Canadians about the simple things they can take to pay-it-safe online," said Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation. "While we and our partners work continuously to create a safe and secure payments environment, there are always extra steps consumers can take to help protect themselves from fraudulent activity on the Internet."

Consumer tips to help create a safe, online shopping environment:

...Connect securely: Before you begin your online shopping, make sure you have a secure, password-encrypted connection and the latest security software installed on your computer.

...Avoid making online purchases through an unsecured or borrowed Internet connection.

...Follow your instincts: While there are many legitimate online merchants, trust your instincts and avoid making a purchase over the Internet if you have concerns about a specific website.
For a list of trusted merchants accepting Interac Online, visit

...Check the URL: Always type a merchant's website URL directly into your browser instead of clicking on a third party link (such as a link embedded in an email advertisement), which may be a phishing attempt directing you to a fraudulent website. Reputable merchants offer secure browsing, indicated by a https link or SSL certificate.

...Pay securely: Interac Online makes paying for goods and services over the Internet safe and easy using funds withdrawn directly from your bank account. None of your financial details, card numbers or login information are shared with the online merchant or a third party because your payment is conducted through participating financial institutions'* online banking sites. For more information on Interac Online, visit

...Read the privacy policy: Once you've selected goods or services to buy online, always check the small print. What is the merchant's privacy policy? Will the merchant withhold any of your personal information? This should be addressed clearly on the website.

...Save a record of the purchase: Print and file a copy of your receipt, as well as the merchant's terms and conditions, should you need to return the product or consult the warranty.

...Examine your purchase: Once you receive your purchase, inspect it to ensure it is exactly what you purchased and did not incur damage during shipping.

And remember: Should fraud occur, remember that Interac Debit cardholders who use Interac Online to complete a transaction are protected from any financial losses resulting from circumstances beyond their control by the Interac Zero Liability policy.

"The last thing consumers want to worry about when they're shopping on the Internet is the threat of fraudsters," said Hubberstey. "The unique design of Interac Online provides Canadians with peace of mind when they're online shopping - even stolen cards and PINs cannot be used to complete Internet transactions."

About Interac Association

A recognized world leader in debit card services, Interac Association is responsible for the development and operations of the Interac network, a national payment network that allows Canadians to access their money through 59,000 Automated Banking Machines and 727,000 point-of-sale terminals across Canada.

Interac Association was founded in 1984 and is comprised of a diverse membership that includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, merchants, and technology and payment related companies.