RCMP, Solicitor General, and Stentor Join Forces to Fight Telecom Fraud Back
OTTAWA, June 23, 1997 /CNW/ - Canada is set to strengthen its effectiveness in the fight against an invisible form of organized crime: telecommunications fraud. On June 23-24, in a cooperative effort among the RCMP, the Solicitor General of Canada and Stentor (the Alliance of Canada's telecommunications companies), officers from specialized RCMP units across the country will participate in a two-day seminar and explore ways to stop criminals from capitalizing on an industry in perpetual change.

"There is a common misconception in the marketplace," says Brian Oickle, director of Fraud Control at Stentor, "that telecommunications fraud is a victimless crime. In fact, there is a direct financial impact on consumers, business and the Canadian economy as a whole. Consumers and businesses have to protect their dial-tones."

Telecommunications fraud comes in two main forms: telemarketing fraud where the telephone is simply used as the medium to commit the offense, and telecom fraud which is essentially the theft of dialtone. Once a criminal gains access to a dial tone (through unprotected systems), they have carte- blanche calling to anywhere in the world -- unless precautions are taken.

Canada is actually more effective in blocking criminals from the country's telephone systems than the United States. It is impossible to pinpoint real figures because of the nature of the crime but the best estimates put total North American losses in the area of $3-4 billion, and a relatively less ominous $100 million in Canada.

Canada's success can be attributed to a combination of its advanced telecommunications network and the continued sharing of ideas among government, law enforcement and industry.

"This two-day seminar isn't a solution on its own," says RCMP superintendent George Kaine. "We would like to see an on-going program where all three parties can share their expertise from prevention right through to prosecution. Changes in technology happen every day and it is critical that we as a law enforcement agency not only keep up, but that we stay ahead of the criminals."

The three organizations have already found tremendous benefit in working together. It was at the September 1996 National Forum on Organized Crime where the idea for this seminar was born.

This seminar represents a tangible result from the national forum. Telecommunications fraud is complex and cooperation among the government, law enforcement community and industry is vital in order to combat this shared threat.

The two-day session opens at 8:15 a.m. on Monday, June 23, with public statements from all three organizations.

The Stentor alliance was formed in 1992 by Canada's leading providers of telecommunications services. These companies maintain the world's longest, fully digital fibre-optic network.

The members of the alliance are: BC TEL, Bell Canada, Island Tel, Manitoba Telecom Services, Maritime Tel & Tel, NBTel, NewTel Communications, NorthwesTel, QuébecTel, SaskTel and TELUS.