Toronto police, private sector usher in Fraud Prevention Month

Published On February 25, 2016 | By mdeeder | Business, News

Jeremy Appel

Representatives of the private and public sectors were on hand Thursday to help Toronto police kick off the 12th annual Fraud Prevention Month.

Det.-Sgt. Rob Stewart from the Financial Crimes Unit was joined by speakers from the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB), the Bank of Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the Canadian Bankers’ Association (CBA) and Interac, to warn against the perils of financial fraud.

“Fraud does not know any barriers with respect to age, gender, socioeconomic levels, intellect, or specific cultural groups,” Stewart said in his opening remarks.

“We are all equally vulnerable to the fraudster that would convince each and every once of us that they are genuine with their request for money,” he continued.

“However, the end result in all cases … is the great personal loss to our families and livelihoods.”

“You and I could be on our way home today from this event and be forced into a … staged collision just so the other people can make their claim for injuries.”-Kathy Metzger, Insurance Bureau of Canada

Stephan Luciw, assistant deputy commissioner of the CCB, which spearheaded the initiative along with Toronto police, spoke about the three “R’s” of fraud prevention – recognize, reject and report.

“By recognizing it, we are asking Canadians and Canadian businesses to question the legitimacy of every inquiry they receive … especially those online and on social media,” he said.

“Once they’ve recognized the scam, the next step is to reject it. Delete the email, hang up the phone, or throw out the materials.

“The third and final step is to report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency,” Luciw said. “Reporting is the only means by which we can bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Manuel Pereira of the Bank of Canada spoke about fraudulent currency, while Kathy Metzger of the IBC warned against auto insurance fraud.

“You and I could be on our way home today from this event and be forced into a … staged collision just so the other people can make their claim for injuries,” Metzger said.

“When using credit and debit cards, transactions are electronically monitored to look for any unusual activity that could be an indication of fraud.”-Maura Drew Lytle, CBA Communications Director

These fake injuries not only manipulate the insurance process, but also constitute a grave “abuse of our medical system” by wasting precious space in ambulances, hospitals and rehabilitation clinics, she added.

Metzger highlighted the difficulty of addressing this particular type of fraud.

“Every time we act upon an insurance crime what we’re doing is educating the bad guys on what not to do the next time,” she said.

CBA Communications Director Maura Drew Lytle said the banks have a robust system in place to guard against fraudulent financial transactions.

“When using credit and debit cards, transactions are electronically monitored to look for any unusual activity that could be an indication of fraud,” she said.

Mark Sullivan, head of Interac’s fraud market management, spoke of his company’s recent success in combating financial crime.

Sullivan said Interac saw a nearly 92 per cent decrease in debit card fraud from 2009, which he described as “a record new low,” resulting from mechanisms the company put in place. Sullivan didn’t specify what the mechanisms were.

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