March 4, 2019

Agencies join forces to fight fraud, one coffee at a time

Winnipeg -
The Manitoba Financial Services Agency (MFSA), the Winnipeg Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit, the Consumer Protection Office (CPO), Credit Union Central of Manitoba (CUCM), and the Better Business Bureau of Manitoba (BBB) are partnering for a Fraud Prevention Month meet and greet event at St. Vital Centre.

On Tuesday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Winnipeg Police constables, MFSA, BBB, and CPO staff will be on hand throughout the day at St. Vital Centre’s Food Hall fireplace to answer Manitoban’s questions on fraud, and to educate on how to recognize it, reject it, and report it.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy a free coffee and a snack, and chat with one of the subject matter experts to learn more about protecting themselves and their loved ones from fraud, or to share their own experiences dealing with scammers. Organizers are hoping the relaxed atmosphere and one-on-one conversation will encourage a strong turnout.
“We’re taking a welcoming approach to answering important questions on a serious topic” says Jason Roy, MFSA Senior Investigator. “The comfortable, café atmosphere—and free coffee—has worked very well for some of our colleagues in other provinces. This is the first time MFSA is using this model for fraud education, and we’re very pleased to have the Better Business Bureau, the Winnipeg Police’s Financial Crime Unit, and St. Vital Centre on board as well.”

Fraud in Manitoba, and across Canada, is considered an under-reported crime. While studies have shown 20 per cent of Manitobans have been approached with a fraud attempt, only about 30 per cent will take time to report it.
“Reporting fraud to authorities is extremely important,” says Constable Mike Streilein with the Winnipeg Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit, “Every report that goes unfiled means someone else could become a victim. We hope this event will provide a great opportunity to engage with Manitobans about their concerns on range of fraud topics.”
Experts on hand will be experienced with real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, Ponzi and pyramid schemes, telephone scams, investment fraud, insurance fraud, online trading scams, romance scams, and several other common scams and swindles. BBB staff in particular will focus on providing information on consumer-focused fraud.
“With tax season coming up, we’re getting a lot of calls about the CRA scam,” says Len Andrusiak, President & CEO, Better Business Bureau Manitoba and NW Ontario. “Law enforcement agencies are doing a lot to shut it down, but it’s still one of the most common complaints we receive. Opportunities to help better educate the public on how to protect themselves are a win for everyone involved. We’re very proud to be a part of the event.”
The Manitoba Financial Services Agency is a Special Operating Agency of the Government of Manitoba. Through its two divisions, The Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) and Financial Institutions Regulation Branch (FIRB), the MFSA regulates securities, real estate, cooperatives, credit unions, and insurance in the province.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario, founded in 1930 and is one of 110 local, independent BBBs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2018, consumers turned to BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario for inquires more than 620 thousand times.
CUCM is the trade association and service provider for the province’s 26 autonomous credit unions and is governed by Manitoba’s Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act. CUCM manages liquidity reserves, monitors credit granting procedures and provides trade services in areas such as corporate governance, government relations, representation and advocacy.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s mission is to build safe and healthy communities across Winnipeg through excellence in law enforcement and leadership in crime prevention through social development.
The Consumer Protection Office investigates and mediates consumer complaints. Manitobans are encouraged to learn more about consumer protection issues and their rights under the law. 


Media Inquiries:                   
Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MFSA  |  204.945.1660 |