A three month joint investigation, dubbed
“Project 7”, undertaken by the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau, the Ontario
Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Section and the Canadian Bankers Association,
in conjunction with Police Services in Durham Region, Windsor, Ottawa-Carleton
and Halton Region, along with the U.S. Secret Service, was concluded on July
The investigation is part of a continued commitment to the proactive
policing of criminal fraud groups operating across numerous policing
jurisdictions and a commitment amongst Police Services to work co-operatively.
The targeted groups were involved in common fraud schemes, including
credit/debit card “skimming” and counterfeiting, the theft of personal
identification data and, in one case, internet based fraud.
Over the course of the three months, six search warrants were executed
and eleven persons charged in three judicial jurisdictions with a total of
sixty-seven offences. Five of the persons charged were on bail awaiting trial
for similar offences when arrested. The investigation, coupled with the
seizure of five computers containing pirated data, served to identify retail
outlets across the Province, as the source location for the theft of personal
credit and debit card data. The retailers were in Mississauga, Toronto,
Burlington, Hamilton, Windsor, Ajax and Barrie. The total fraud loss, which
remains to be finalized, is expected to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This investigation has however, saved an equal amount of money by recovering
pirated data before it could be encoded onto counterfeited debit/credit cards.
One of the persons charged, had been suspected of being involved in
internet based fraud. At the time of his arrest he was carrying $8,000 USD.
The money was traced to an American citizen in Pennsylvania who had responded
to a pitch he had received via the “net”. The fraud scheme commonly referred
to as the “Nigerian letter” entices persons to assist in secreting money out
of an African nation, most commonly Nigeria.
The public can assist Police and Financial Institutions in curbing
organized fraud by protecting their personal data, especially their debit card
PIN number and by being cautious in responding to any unsolicited messages
received through the “net”. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
For further information contact Detective Sergeant Rodrigues, Peel
Regional Police Fraud Bureau 905-453-2121 ext 7330 or Detective Inspector
Chivers, OPP Anti-Rackets 705-329-6400