Media Advisory: Calgary Police and Better Business Bureau kick off Fraud Prevention Month in Calgary
Who: Const. Jon Pye of the Calgary Police Service Fraud Team and Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
When: Monday, March 1, 2021, at 10 a.m. via Zoom
Instructions: The virtual media availability will take place over Zoom. Members of the media are asked to log into the availability by 9:50 a.m. on Monday morning using their first name and the agency they are representing.
After our spokespeople have given an opening statement, anyone with a question is asked to write the word "question" in the chat and the moderator will call on you one at a time to ask your question and any subsequent follow up questions.
The Zoom link will be sent out to media on Monday morning.
A high-definition video recording of the spokespeople at the podium will be available after the media availability upon request. Please call the CPS Media Line at 403-428-7979, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the video.
With Calgarians reporting a staggering loss of nearly $4 million to online scams last year, the Calgary Police Service (CPS), along with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay and other community partners, are coming together for the 17th annual national Fraud Prevention Month campaign. The campaign aims to educate citizens about how to recognize, report and stop fraud.
Throughout the month, each week will highlight on a different type of fraud or scam, with the first week focusing on cybercrime and online scams.
Last year, citizens in Calgary reported losing more than $3.8 million in online scams to CPS, which is up from a reported loss of approximately $2.2 million in 2019.
The most common type of cryptocurrency scams reported to CPS last year were:
- Authority scams (CRA/Service Canada/immigration scams) with a reported loss of approximately $1.4 million
- Employment scams, with a reported loss of approximately $950,000
- Romance scams, with a reported loss of approximately $644,000
“Now, more than ever, people are spending more time online due to COVID-19 restrictions and provincial health orders. Our priority is to work with our partners to help citizens spot the red flags of these scams and encourage people to come forward and report their experiences, especially if their personal information has been compromised or they’ve suffered a monetary loss,” says Const. Jon Pye with the Calgary Police Service Fraud Team.
“Thousands of Canadians are unfortunately defrauded and scammed every year,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, President and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Fraud and scams online, by telephone and in person remain a persistent problem - BBB and CPS is raising awareness about this vital issue.”
“Throughout the month of March, and every month, your BBB, CPS and our partners, will provide information to business and consumers so they can better protect themselves against fraudsters and scam artists.”
Common red flags of online scams include:
- Misspelled email addresses, websites, links or spelling errors in the messages themselves
- Suspicious attachments or links
- Urgent requests with threats of legal action if demands are not followed
- Payment requested in the form of pre-paid gift cards, wire money transfers or other forms of non-secure payment
- Requests of personal or financial information
Fraud Prevention Month in Alberta will highlight the following weekly topics:
- Week 1 (March 1 - 7): Cybercrime and online scams. Examples include phishing scams, online marketplace scams, employment scams, advance-fee loan scams, online ticket sale scams, romance scams, online identity theft and Wi-Fi hacking.
- Week 2 (March 8 - 14): Identity theft and fraud. Examples include phone and email scams where the goal is to steal someone's identity or financial information and mail theft.
- Week 3 (March 15 - 21): Business frauds and scams. Examples include fake invoices/email scams, mortgage fraud, money laundering in real estate, fake charities, cheque and credit card fraud, door-to-door scams, contractor fraud, internal or employee theft.
- Week 4 (March 22 – 28): Mass marketing and phone scams. Examples include spoofed phone numbers, mass mail-outs or subscriptions and fraudulent telemarketers.
Additional Fraud Prevention Month partners include:
- The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
- The Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association
- The Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
- Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch
- Alberta Northern Sunrise County
- Alberta Health Services
- Better Business Bureau Edmonton
- Better Business Bureau Ottawa
- Canada Revenue Agency
- The Edmonton Police Service
- The RCMP
- Service Alberta
The Calgary Police Service would like to thank all participating Fraud Prevention Month partners for their continued efforts in helping to educate citizens about how to recognize, report and stop fraudulent activity. Anyone who has been a victim of fraud can report it to the Calgary Police Service by contacting the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers using any of the following methods: