With the rapid rise and use of the internet, fraud has developed into an aspect of our everyday lives and has taken on a variety of different forms. The RCMP classifies the following types of fraud: identity theft and identity fraud, debit and credit card fraud, email fraud, marketing and internet related fraud, investment and securities fraud, and counterfeit currency. Although they take on a variety of forms, the definition of fraud is simple. Fraud is a crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person.


Identity Fraud

One of the more common forms of fraud is identity fraud, which stems from identity theft. As defined by the RCMP, identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the information of another person, in connection with various other frauds such as debit or credit card use. Identity theft can range from very simple and unsophisticated, to more elaborate fraud schemes with the use of the internet. Information accessed can be used for gaining access to your bank accounts, applying for loans, making purchases, and many other activities that the rightful owner may not be aware of.

The Toronto Police Service recommends the public to be diligent and careful when engaging in financial transactions over the phone or internet. The public is also advised to conduct independent research before providing any personal information to any emails or phone calls that appear to be suspicious.

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Most identity and on-line fraud take only two things. A computer and a guy who knows how to hack your identity or passwords.

Marketing and Internet Fraud

Major economic crimes in any Canadian city involving real estate violations and public financial crimes involving large numbers of victims are usually investigated by the Corporate Crimes division of the respective police service. This division specializes in leading investigations that have a major economic impact and involve large numbers of victims. Identity theft and fraud are very common and Police departments have to deal with them very frequently. Marketing and internet fraud in many instances lead to identity fraud by extracting information from a victim through a simple request, such as having them provide their social insurance number or an offer that may be written in the form of an email.

Fraud costs everybody money!

Fraud costs everybody money!

In fact, in 2014 alone, there were 20,611 victims, up from 19,489 in 2013 (Government of Canada, Mass Marketing Fraud 2014). However, the total losses decreased from $11,104,001.56 to $10,484,492.50 from 2013 to 2014 respectively, which means that more Canadians are aware of the dangers of identity fraud (Government of Canada, Mass Marketing Fraud 2014). In turn, this means that police departments nationwide are creating more awareness about the dangers of identity fraud and the negative economic implications associated with it.

Police departments must continue to advise the public and keep them informed about any other ways that fraudsters will look to exploit victims. The police have a unique advantage that other law enforcement departments usually do not, they are in direct contact with their communities by doing community patrols and frequently posting updates and information on social media.


Charity Fraud

In many instances, fraudsters look to profit from people’s generosity. Charity scams affect us all. They hurt the beneficiaries who don’t get the benefits or the help that they need. Peel Regional Police advises that best way to avoid being scammed by a charity is to think about a specific list of charities that are most important to you and do extensive research on them. This is the most efficient way to donate to a charity.

On a federal level, the RCMP keeps Canadians informed about appeals for donations that tend to impact one on a personal level. Many times, these appeals are associated with sad stories and they will pressure victims into making on the spot donations and sometimes sign you up for monthly donations by credit card. Every Police Service specifically lists a number of steps on their websites in order to keep its communities aware of possible ways that fraudulent charities may look to exploit victims. Toronto and Peel Regional Police services have a specific number that fraud victims can call and report a suspicious charitable organization.

We can conclude that the best way for the Police to protect its citizens from fraud is to continue their preventive policing techniques. Police departments need to consistently stay informed about new techniques that fraudsters use, continuously investigate current cases of fraud, and keep citizens informed about how fraud cases can be prevented before it’s too late.