Police leaders warn of tax, utilities scams
Ontario's police leaders got an early jump on Fraud Prevention Month in March by joining forces with their corporate and community partners to warn Ontarians about new and often sophisticated scams that prey on vulnerable taxpayers, utility users, and consumers.
The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) launched its annual Crime Prevention Campaign at the Canada Revenue Agency’s Toronto Centre Tax Services Office and called on individuals and businesses to know who they are dealing with in order to not fall for financial crimes and fraud that seem legitimate.
“Financial crimes and fraud are criminal activities that victimize individuals from all walks of life. During the past year, police across Ontario have become increasingly aware of very sophisticated, well-organized financial criminal activities that prey on people’s lack of understanding about their rights when it comes to their financial matters,” said OACP president Chief Jeff McGuire. “If you feel uneasy about someone calling you or showing up at your door about your taxes or your utility bills, if you notice suspicious banking or on-line activities related to your financial assets, don’t be fooled. Call for help.”
Chief McGuire noted that individuals and businesses can call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number or report incidents of suspected fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
The OACP is partnering with crime prevention partners to promote the campaign theme, “Know Who You’re Dealing With…” Police services throughout Ontario have access to a new crime prevention booklet provided by the OACP to help them raise awareness and educate Ontarians about the seriousness of financial crimes and fraud.
It’s estimated that all types of financial crimes and fraud cost Canadians more than $10 billion each year. When it comes to mass marketing fraud, the Canadian Anti- Fraud Centre reported a total of 51,385 complaints between January and November of 2015, involving 13,717 victims. The total dollar value loss suffered by these victims was $61.3 million dollars. In 2014, the total dollar lost to these types of crimes was $75 million.