Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

March 12, 2008 10:45 ET

Project False Hope Unveiled: Competition Bureau Combats Cancer Fraud Through Education and Enforcement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2008) - The Competition Bureau launched today Project False Hope (http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/epic/site/cb-bc.nsf/en/02614e.html), an education and enforcement initiative aimed at targeting cancer-related health fraud online. Project False Hope has already uncovered dozens of Canadian-operated Web sites offering cancer-related products that raise concerns under the false and misleading provisions of the Competition Act.

Millions of Canadians are turning to the Internet for health-related information. Once online, they will often be exposed to unproven and downright fraudulent cures or treatments for their health problems that can cheat them of time, money, and most importantly, their health.

"Swindling people living with cancer is one of the most despicable forms of fraud," said Andrea Rosen, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Competition Bureau. "Consumers should be skeptical of health-related products or services that look too good to be true, and should always speak to a health care professional before trying any new treatment."

As part of Project False Hope, the Bureau has unveiled two interactive Web tools to educate consumers on how to recognize scams. Anatomy of an Online Health Scam (http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/epic/site/cb-bc.nsf/en/02580e.html) is designed to teach you how to identify some of the tactics often used by scammers selling bogus cancer cures or treatments online. The Health Fraud Awareness Quiz(http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/epic/site/cb-bc.nsf/en/02568e.html) tests your knowledge of scammers' tactics and teaches you how to avoid falling victim.

In addition to providing consumers with more information on how to protect themselves from fraudulent health claims, the Bureau uses a combination of Internet surveillance and adaptive investigative techniques to identify online scams. To date, 92 per cent of the identified sites have complied with the Bureau's demand to modify or remove the claims at issue, but many similar sites are still out there. The Bureau will take additional enforcement actions to obtain compliance from remaining sites as required.

March is Fraud Prevention Month (http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/epic/site/cb-bc.nsf/en/h_00122e.html) in Canada and around the world. As chair of the Fraud Prevention Forum, the Competition Bureau works with its partners to raise awareness among consumers and businesses about the dangers of fraud, by educating them on how to recognize it, report it and stop it.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. We contribute to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

FRAUD: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.

Contact Information

  • Media enquiries:
    Maureen McGrath
    Senior Advisor
    Communications & Stakeholder Relations
    819-953-8982
    or
    General enquiries:
    Competition Bureau
    Information Centre
    819-997-4282
    1-800-348-5358