Monday, October 25, 2010

Fighting fraud the Canadian Way

Surfing the web is like swimming with sharks. There are scam artists lurking in every shadow, flooding inboxes with bogus requests, phishing for bank account numbers and other personal data. While the fraudsters operate from keyboards in locations around the globe, the Canadian crime fighters trying to shut them down are tucked away in a small office in North Bay. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, in the Ministry of Correctional Services building on First Avenue, is the country's hub for collecting information and criminal intelligence on everything from telemarketing and Internet fraud to identity theft. Jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Competition Bureau of Canada, the anti-fraud centre deals with reports involving Canadian content from victims across North America.

But fighting the onslaught is a momentous task that can only be won through public education. That is the No. 1 way to combat this type of fraud," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Proulx, who oversees the operation. The more people who know about fraud, the more they can recognize it." A staff of 24 includes operators who receive complaints and specialists who analyze the information. The centre's role, however, is not to send officers out into the field to make arrests, but rather to identify possible fraud operations and notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. RCMP Cpl. Louis Robertson, who heads up the criminal intelligence unit, has cultivated relationships with agencies around the world, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States, which is under no obligation to co-operate.

Although fraud operations do get shut down as a result of the centre's work, they are often only temporary disruptions." That's why public awareness is such an important weapon. In fact, the centre is planning to launch a public education campaign early next month, complete with a new website at The centre receives about 500 e-mails per day from people reporting possible fraud and some 10,000 phone calls each month. And the numbers are growing. Formerly called Project PhoneBusters, the centre was created in 1993 by OPP officer Barry Elliott. At that time, the focus was mainly on telemarketing fraud. But, as Internet technology advanced, the centre evolved along with the scope of the crimes.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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