March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and a number of national and regional initiatives have kicked-off to promote fraud awareness. Federal government agencies, commercial organizations, and non-profit groups have rolled-out campaigns to highlight the impact of fraudulent activities, including:
- The Competition Bureau, Canada’s independent law enforcement agency responsible for the administration of the Competition Act and other federal legislation, leads its annual public awareness campaign through its Fraud Prevention Month website. This site provides a number of user-friendly resources and social media programs to increase fraud awareness. The Bureau also chairs the Fraud Prevention Forum, which is a focused group of more than 125 private sector firms, consumer interest groups, and government agencies committed to combating fraud; the Forum is the lead organizer of the Fraud Prevention Month campaign, now in its 11th year.
- The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) website explains how to report a suspected fraud, provides statistical reports regarding frauds in Canada, and identifies a number of ongoing and reported scams across the country to promote awareness;
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) also hosts a Fraud Prevention Month website, dedicated to raising awareness of such fraudulent activities as identity theft, e-mail fraud, and Internet-related fraud;
- The Government of Canada’s travel advisory website lists a number of topical reminders and tips to travellers regarding fraud prevention when working overseas; and
- Industry groups, such as the Canadian Bankers Association, provides helpful links to different resources to raise awareness about recent fraud scams.
Incidents of fraud are on the rise globally across an array of industires. A 2014 global economic crime survey found that 37% of surveyed organizations report being the victim of economic fraud. Another 2014 global fraud study on occupational fraud and abuse found that a typical organization loses 5% of revenues each year to fraud, translating into a potential global fraud loss of $3.7 trillion if applied to the 2013 estimated Gross World Product. In Canada, the overlap between cybercrime and fraud has become worrisome; in 2012, police reported 9,084 cybercrime incidents, and more than half of these cases involved fraud.
As Fraud Prevention Month 2015 continues, it is hoped that these resources increase awareness, result in improved preventative strategies, and encourage individuals and organizations to both report and stop fraudulent activities.