The Financial Crimes Section is a part of the Detective Division of the Saanich Police. Three members work full-time on a variety of offences relating to fraudulent activity, usually focusing on cases where there has been a loss in excess of $5,000.00.
There are over 50 sections of the Criminal Code of Canada that deal with fraud related offences. These offences require a substantial amount of time and a great deal of specialization in order for them to be thoroughly investigated. Referrals to the Financial Crime detectives are usually made after initial investigation by uniformed officers.
An excellent resource is the BC Securities Commision's website:
Internet Auction Fraud
Consumers are frequently accessing web sites such as eBay to buy and sell items of every nature. The typical complaint we receive is from the buyer who sends his money but never receives the item they paid for. Due diligence must be exercised by the consumer to ensure they have a successful transaction. Use an escrow agency to ensure payment is made only upon receipt of the item purchased. It is imperative to read and follow the warnings and procedures outlined on these sites.
Computer Email Spam
This is a growing problem that is almost impossible to fully control. Do not reply to an unwanted email as this only confirms your email address to those that forward the spam. Some email programs offer filters that assist in weeding out these emails. We recommend you consult with your local computer store expert for further advice.
Always use a good quality anti-virus program to check for viruses. Ensure that the virus definitions are up to date. These anti-virus programs can scan your entire hard drive, floppy drive and emails for possible viruses.
Ensure that you have protection in place to prevent unwanted persons from connecting to your computer and stealing or damaging your files and data.
With today's high end printers it is sometimes difficult to detect a counterfeit bill. If you regularly accept cash payment for goods you should make yourself aware of what to look for in examining the bills. Visit the Bank of Canada website to learn more.
Credit Card & Interac Card Fraud
Counterfeit credit card and theft of Interac Card data is a growing concern. As a consumer you must be aware of where your card is at all times. When using your card keep it in sight. This helps prevent the criminal from swiping your card on a reader that can steal the card data. When entering your PIN shield the keypad from other persons nearby and never write or give out your PIN number.
We have received a report of a fraudulent phone call, whereby the caller claims to be an agent of "Criminal Investigative Division" and that an arrest warrant had been issued for the call recipient. The catch: send money before the warrant gets sent to local police.
This is far from how the legal system works in Canada, and should immediately raise concern for anyone reveiving such a call (or email).
As stated before DO NOT SEND MONEY. If needed, verify any concerns about arrest warrants, or the like, by contacting your local police directly.
The best defence to becoming a victim of a financial crime is to exercise due diligence. If you are unsure, seek assistance from any of the sources listed above or call the Saanich Police at 475-4321.