The Canadian Bar Insurance Association
Criminal

Fraud incidents in Ontario becoming more prevalent

By Joseph Neuberger

There is a new law on the books that makes it illegal to sell anything related to utilities by going door to door. The Consumer Protection Act in Ontario was recently amended to clearly state that things like air conditioning, water treatment units, purifiers, duct cleaning, furnaces and the like can't be peddled by knocking on someone's door. Some people have been scammed by fraud associated with these types of sales. The best thing for people to do, according to the authorities, is to shut the door.

Fraud can also happen over the phone and on the internet. Fraud cases have been increasing in Canada since 2012, according to Statistics Canada. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that pervasive marketing fraud is vastly under-reported. Canadian citizens lost about $95 million in 2017 due to marketing scams.

More people, however, are recognizing when a person or a company is allegedly trying to scam them and actually do report it. The media, too, has been playing a part in fraud-busting by letting consumers know about apparent large-scale fraud initiatives. A charge of fraud is a serious one in Ontario and a conviction could affect a person's reputation, his or her work and perhaps even personal freedom.

Those who are facing fraud charges in Ontario would do well to seek legal counsel when preparing to defend the allegations in court. Fraud charges might be difficult for the Crown to prove. Having an experienced criminal lawyer's know-how may lessen any sentence imposed upon a guilty verdict or have the charges dropped altogether. 

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