About the CAFC
Mission of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
The CAFC is Canada's central repository for data, intelligence and resource material as it relates to fraud. The CAFC commits to providing timely, accurate and useful information to assist citizens, businesses, law enforcement and governments in Canada and around the world. The CAFC's primary goals are prevention through education and awareness, disruption of criminal activities, dissemination of intelligence, support to law enforcement and strengthening partnerships between the private and public sectors with the aim of maintaining Canada's strong economic integrity.
Vision of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
The CAFC will:
- Be innovative in its efforts to disrupt frauds and scams through coordination with its partners.
- Be an international Centre of Excellence providing the most comprehensive data available in Canada with regard to fraud related resource material, scam types, statistics, trends, and demographics, as well as the size, scope and impact of fraud.
- Work closely and cooperatively with its numerous partners in a combined effort to proactively identify emerging scams, trends, threats, and criminal organizations operating in Canada across multiple jurisdictions.
- Provide the highest possible quality service through technology in partnership with law enforcement, government agencies at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, and the private sector.
- Provide valuable, timely and compassionate assistance to victims of fraud.
Governance of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
The CAFC is jointly managed by the RCMP, Competition Bureau, and the OPP. The Joint Management Team (JMT) meets bi-annually to discuss strategic guidance and direction in line with the Mission and Vision statements of the CAFC. Day-to-day operations are led by the RCMP.
The CAFC is divided into three key function areas:
Call Centre & Intake Unit (CCIU)
How to report fraud:
- Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501
- Toll Free Fax: 1-888-654-9426
Senior Support Unit (SSU - Prevention and Education of Seniors by Senior Volunteers
Seniors are targeted for many reasons: loneliness, lack of family support, age vulnerability and for health-related reasons such as Alzheimer's. Seniors are particularly susceptible to fraud schemes because their generation tends to be more trusting and less likely to end conversations. Fraudulent telemarketers build relationships with seniors and gain their trust before victimizing them. Ruined family lives, great financial losses and suicides have resulted from this brutal crime against the elderly.
Unfortunately, staff at the CAFC found they had neither the time nor the resources to follow up with victimized seniors so the Centre decided to enlist volunteer seniors who could help with the battle against mass marketing and identity fraud. The volunteers were able to relate personal experiences, provide support and establish rapport with elderly victims. The "seniors helping seniors" program was named SeniorBusters.
SeniorBusters was officially launched by Premier Mike Harris in October 1997. Since then, it has grown to a group of approximately 50 active volunteers. They come from diverse backgrounds and bring many different skills to the CAFC and its attempt to reduce the level of mass marketing fraud and identity theft. This is clearly a successful and effective long-term strategy in reducing the number of seniors victimized by fraud.
SeniorBusters helps fraud victims by:
- Relating personal experiences, wisdom and expertise
- Providing strength to victims
- Providing emotional and moral support
- Being sensitive to the needs of seniors
- Contacting victims as often as needed
- Educating and re-educating seniors
- Obtaining suspect company information
- Referring victims to other appropriate agencies
- Developing personal relationships with victims
- Ensuring that seniors have a place to turn to when they need assistance
- Helping victimized seniors regain personal dignity
RCMP Commissioner's Volunteer Award
SENIORBUSTERS was honored to receive RCMP Commissioner's Volunteer Award in recognition of their dedication of service and support for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Operational Support Unit (OSU - Intelligence, Disruption, Prevention and Education)
The Operational Support Unit (OSU) is a multi-facetted unit whose primary role is to facilitate or support efforts to reduce mass marketing fraud and identity crimes. This is done by assessing the information gathered by the CAFC intake center in order to determine the most effective mitigation strategy. This includes: developing intelligence and investigative packages; preparing fraud prevention and awareness messaging; and advancing alternative measures for fraud reduction.
The CAFC's Operational Support Unit (OSU) is divided into three components:
OSU Analysts are responsible for collecting, collating, analyzing information gathered by the CAFC's intake centre in order to increase the understanding of Mass Marketing Fraud (MMF). More specifically, the intelligence function prepares and disseminates intelligence briefs; investigative packages; statistical packages; and complaint information to the police of jurisdiction and/or existing partnerships and taskforces in Canada which are actively investigating MMF.
Canadian financial institutions, telephone providers, internet service providers, email providers, intellectual property holders and mail or delivery agencies; all have a vested interest in protecting Canadians from crimes that abuse their services and good names.
The CAFC has developed alternative measures that reduce the impact of MMF on Canada's global economy. By working with these private and public sector partners, the CAFC has been able to strategically target and limit the criminals' ability to communicate with intended victims and their ability to receive and launder victim funds.
Private and public sector partnerships assist in the reduction of victimization, the development of intelligence, and the disruption of criminal activities.
3) Prevention and Education
Prevention is often understood as the most effective way to reduce MMF and other financial motivated crimes. One of the CAFC's goals is to make Canada the most educated country when it comes to scams and frauds.
In order to accomplish this, the OSU along with the CAFC SeniorBusters program, organizes and participates in numerous fraud awareness campaigns. This includes conducting webinars and presentations; maintaining Twitter and Facebook accounts; and actively engaging Canadian media outlets to spread the key fraud prevention messages.
A Brief History of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
In 1993 a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch stationed in North Bay, Ontario started "Project PhoneBusters" with a local member of the RCMP. The Project was intended to enter data in a central database from victims of a new emerging problem in North Bay called Telemarketing Scams and attempt to prosecute the perpetrators. It wasn't long before the two realized the scope of the problem was much greater than just North Bay. By 1997 PhoneBusters had added Call-Takers as calls were coming in from across Canada. As well, it became apparent there was a need to provide victim assistance and as a result, the SeniorBusters program was created. SeniorBusters are volunteers who are seniors themselves and provide support and assistance to those who are most vulnerable.
In 2001 the RCMP formalized their participation in PhoneBusters through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and PhoneBusters was renamed the PhoneBusters National Call Centre (PNCC). In 2002 an analytics component was added to the Intelligence Unit in order to add value to the data the PNCC was collecting. In 2006 the Competition Bureau Canada (Competition Bureau) formalized its participation as the third partner in the PNCC, adding deceptive marketing practices to the mandate. Also in 2006, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, through Resolution #9, formally recognized the PNCC as Canada's central fraud repository.
Near the end of 2009 PNCC added disruption initiatives to its efforts to combat fraud and began partnering with businesses in the private sector as a means of making it difficult for fraudsters to operate.
In 2010 the PNCC was renamed the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) in an effort to both identify the national nature of the CAFC and the fact that its mandate had stretched well beyond Telemarketing Fraud to include many forms of mass marketing fraud. A new logo was added along with completely redesigned webpages to capture the new look and mandate.
The CAFC annually forwards an average of 5,800 telephone numbers and 16,000 e-mail accounts being used by scammers to service providers for review and possible termination. Other disruption efforts include nearly 800 credit card merchant accounts, 9,000 credit card accounts, 1,000 bank accounts, 120 websites and 230 online classified ad accounts that have been forwarded yearly since 2010 to the appropriate service provider for action. Working with Industry partners has prevented tens of thousands of victims and avoided millions of dollars in losses.
Today the CAFC is world renowned for best practices and has been the inspiration for many countries to establish their own national centralized fraud data repositories. The CAFC fields calls from Canadians and others around the world totaling more than 150,000 calls for service generating more than 50,000 complaints by telephone from victims annually. The CAFC also receives approximately 1,200 e-mail submissions daily.
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