During this global pandemic, scammers are finding new opportunities to prey on those who are already dealing with fear, uncertainty and anxiety caused by COVID-19. These fraudsters do not care about international borders and cast wide nets to ensnare as many victims as they can.
Canada and the United States are cracking down on fraudulent and deceptive activities and warning their citizens to stay vigilant against those trying to steal their money or personal information. In our collective battle against this evolving threat, the partnerships between our government organizations play a vital role in helping to protect consumers and businesses.
Through decades of integrated policing, supported by joint enforcement and information sharing agreements between our two countries, Canada and the United States have established important multi-agency alliances to help tackle these borderless crimes through civil, regulatory and criminal investigations. For example, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Inspection Service often team up with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a joint initiative by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and the Competition Bureau of Canada. Together, they cull their fraud databases to identify trends, share their findings and often, develop joint action plans to tackle emerging issues. Each participating agency contributes a diverse range of expertise at various stages, including the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offences. The open communication and close collaboration help protect both Canadian and U.S. citizens alike.
In addition to the close cooperation between Canada and the U.S., both countries are also active members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). The network is comprised of consumer protection authorities from over 65 countries, working together to combat fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices around the globe.
In July, Josephine Palumbo, Deputy Commissioner of Canada’s Competition Bureau, Deceptive Marketing Practices Directorate, will assume the ICPEN Presidency for 2020-2021. Canada’s leadership term will focus on promoting truth in advertising online and building consumer confidence in the digital economy. The Bureau will draw upon its findings and experiences in fraud prevention, big data, and marketing practices generally in the digital economy to support its role. It will also work collaboratively with global competition authorities to help protect consumers from those trying to exploit the vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic has brought us new challenges, the unparalleled Canada-U.S. relationship remains stronger than ever. Our tightly-knit partnerships continue to provide both countries with enhanced cross-border enforcement abilities and greater security than could be achieved individually.