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Montréal, March 20, 2014 – This morning, in the Montréal area, some 80 police officers arrested 23 individuals in relation to a mass telemarketing fraud network. A major round-up was conducted by the RCMP, with the assistance of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). Two alleged boiler rooms were also dismantled.
Based on the investigation conducted jointly with the American authorities, several thousands of victims in the United States were defrauded at least $16M as a result of this scam.
The investigation, led by the Centre of Operations Linked to Telemarketing Fraud (COLT), was initiated in June 2013 after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received complaints from many victims about a company that offered medical discounts as well as protection against identity theft.
The targeted individuals operated both from the United States and Canada. They allegedly defrauded American seniors by offering them a card that would provide discounts on prescription drugs and medical services. In fact, the card, sold approximately $300 to the victims, is completely free for American citizens.
The alleged fraudsters also sold services that would provide protection for personal information. In fact, the victims received no protection at all while money was debited from their bank accounts.
COLT includes many Canadian and American partners: RCMP, SQ, SPVM, Competition Bureau of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Post Canada, US Homeland Security, US Postal Inspection Services, US Secret Service, FTC and Federal Bureau of Investigation. COLT also relies on intelligence sharing with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
Mass marketing fraud is a serious and even violent crime for the victims. Knowing the different scams used by criminals is the best way to avoid being victimized!
COLT and its partners focus on prevention and education to proactively fight mass marketing fraud and raise public awareness. If you want to report a fraud, or if you need more information, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you have information on illicit activity by individuals or groups involved in fraud scams, contact the RCMP at 1 800 771-5401 or your local police.