Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

June 02, 2009 13:45 ET

Operation Mirage: Competition Bureau Launches its Largest-ever Crackdown on Deceptive Telemarketing

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 2, 2009) - The Competition Bureau announced today that it is taking action against 50 organizations and individuals in the Montreal area, including executing 10 search warrants, as part of "Operation Mirage", a campaign to combat fraudulent telemarketing operations.

"Deceptive telemarketers are defrauding businesses and consumers of hundreds of millions of dollars in an already difficult economic climate," says Andrea Rosen, Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "Through Operation Mirage, we are cracking down on this criminal activity with enforcement action and public education."

This criminal investigation is being conducted under the newly amended Competition Act, which allows for significantly higher penalties for those convicted of criminal telemarketing offences. This will also allow the Bureau to conduct its work more effectively. It is the first investigation that will benefit from the new penalties.

The campaign is targeting fraudsters who use illegal techniques to market phony business directories to businesses and not-for-profit organizations. It is the largest-ever Bureau sweep against deceptive telemarketing and one of the largest ever in Canada.

The Bureau's goal is to disrupt and deter illegal telemarketing operators. Operation Mirage also aims to educate, through an outreach campaign, thousands of vulnerable job seekers who may unknowingly work for deceptive telemarketing operations exposing themselves to criminal penalties.

This campaign is named "Operation Mirage" to reflect the deceptive nature of practices used by criminal telemarketers to victimize businesses and hire unsuspecting staff. The initiative benefited from the assistance of the COLT partnership (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Surete du Quebec, City of Montreal Police Service, Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service). Fraudulent telemarketers often target victims in other countries in an effort to avoid detection. Cross-border collaboration is key to ensuring fraudsters cannot hide from authories in any jurisdiction.

For further information on Operation Mirage and to learn more about how to protect yourself against fraud, please visit the Bureau's Web site at

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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    Gabrielle Tasse
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