The Bloc Québécois is urging Ottawa to do more to help fraud victims following explosive passage of a former RCMP inspector on committee, concerned we manage to recover barely 1% of money.
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“The RCMP, and by extension the federal government, does not see fraud and fraud awareness as a priority,” criticized John Mecher, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) fraud inspector, on the committee, The National Post reported last Monday.
According to the expert, it is inconceivable that Canadians could recover the equivalent of a meager 1% of last year’s $383 million scam.
More than $332.7 million in losses
While 68,061 people fell victim to fraud in 2021, as of August 31, that number already flirted with 38,812 scams that cost $332.7 million in damages.
In an interview with the Journal, Bloc Québécois MP Sébastien Lemire, who sits on the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, expressed his concern.
“There is a lack of resources. So can we improve it?” wondered the MP for Abitibi-Témiscamingue aloud.
According to him, Ottawa has a responsibility not to let its citizens down.
“If the Canadian government put as much energy into collecting money from fraud victims as they do with their own money, it would be better because they manage to recover half of it,” he said.
“There is a psychological toll associated with that,” he added, shaken by testimonies in the committee that highlighted the scale of the phenomenon.
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For Claude Mathieu, professor at the School of Management at the University of Sherbrooke, responsible for the diploma in the fight against financial crime, the issue is sensitive, complex and political at the same time.
“Law enforcement priorities and budgets come from governments. A violent crime gets more attention than fraud,” he said.
According to him, much more awareness should be created, even if it is often difficult to reach the population properly.
“Tick tock? Facebook? Instagram? I don’t know. It seems the message isn’t getting through, and with the rise of fake news and conspiracies, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the truth from the false,” he pointed out.
Should we attract expensive attention by using influencers?
“I have a big question mark about their goals. They get paid to say things,” concluded the scientific member of the Applied Finance Research Group (GREFA).
– With the collaboration of Sylvain Larocque
Last year, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center received 7,190 reports of phishing emails, claiming 1,597 victims. Keep in mind that according to the organization, barely 5% of scams and frauds are reported.
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