OPP to Raise Cyber Security and Online Safety Awareness for Fraud Prevention Month

In Crime, Police Blotter

March is Fraud Prevention Month

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch, Serious Fraud Office Ontario (SFO) and its Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) partners are launching their annual Fraud Prevention Month campaign.

During the month of March, the OPP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), CAFC and the Competition Bureau of Canada are joining police services across the country to promote public awareness to help prevent all Canadians from becoming victims of fraud.

This year, the OPP’s Fraud Prevention Month campaign will highlight five important topics pertaining to online safety, security and fraud prevention:

· Buying and Selling Online;
· Online Financial Scams;
· Securing Your Accounts and Your Identity;
· Email Scams; and
· Online Scams.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how Canadians shop, conduct business, learn and interact with each other. As a result, a significant shift has been made to utilize technology, which has resulted in considerable positive changes. However, this has not come without a cost. This past year numerous Canadians, businesses and organizations have fallen victim to the destructive toll of cyber enabled crimes.

In 2020, the CAFC received 19,473 fraud reports from 9,858 Ontario victims who reported losing approximately $47 million to fraudsters. Moreover CAFC received, 67,294 reports from Canadian consumers and businesses that reported losses totalling more than $104.2 million. Unfortunately, this figure only represents the losses related to approximately five percent of fraud victims who report the crime to police or the CAFC.

Fraudsters have embraced technologies to engage, target and exploit victims, often with devastating financial and emotional effects. All Canadians can take basic steps to better protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud. Some basic online tips include:
· Creating strong passwords;
· Avoid opening unsolicited emails or clicking on suspicious links or attachments;
· Restricting the amount of information shared publicly;
· Show caution with regards to social media; and
· Update technical security software.

Fraud Prevention Month is about the fraud prevention community working together to create greater awareness and to highlight the various ways that all Canadians are being targeted by fraud. By emphasizing the education component, Canadians can be better prepared.

If you do fall victim to a fraud or know someone who has, we urge individuals to contact your local police service and the CAFC by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online by way of the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.

The public is encouraged to engage in the conversation to help recognize, reject and Report Fraud by using the hashtags #FraudFriday, #FPM2021 #kNOwFraud, #Take5 #Tell2, #SeriousFraudOfficeON.

LEARN MORE

For more fraud facts and figures and a downloadable booklet (PDF), visit The Competition Bureau of Canada website at
https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/home or by visiting http://www.opp.ca and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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