News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 3, 2022

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT TARGETS CYBER CRIMINALS BY PROVIDING ADDITIONAL TOOLS, TRAINING TO WINNIPEG POLICE OFFICERS

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Reported Cybercrimes Up More Than 370 Per Cent in Four-Year Period

The Manitoba government is supporting law enforcement by providing new funding to provide equipment and training for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) that will proactively combat cybercrime, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“Cybercrime has been increasing dramatically across North America and it ranges from online scams that target vulnerable populations to the trafficking of drugs and weapons that find their way onto our streets,” said Goertzen. “The additional funding being provided for training and equipment is intended to help shine a light on those who hide in cyberspace preying on victims.”

Funding of $100,000 is being provided from the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund to train five additional members of the WPS cybercrimes team to participate in the Cryptocurrency Tracing Certified Examiner training program as well as purchase specialized software, such as CipherTrace and Blockchain Forensics, to trace illegal financial cyberspace activities and to locate offenders.

The minister noted just last week in Manitoba, police services in Winnipeg and Brandon had more than a dozen reports of fraud targeting the elderly in a single week, with losses pegged at roughly $100,000. Police believe these frauds are committed by organized groups, adding cybercrimes – including ransomware and phishing attacks, data breaches and cryptocurrency thefts, and cyber-enabled crimes, such as identify fraud or the trafficking of drugs or weapons on the dark web – pose an ongoing, ever-increasing threat to individuals and businesses and present major investigational challenges for police agencies.

The rate of cybercrime has increased exponentially in recent years, especially as cryptocurrencies have become more accepted in the mainstream.

“The Winnipeg Police Service continues to see a marked increase in the reporting of various scams targeting citizens. In the past, criminal actors perpetrating these frauds have utilized traditional mechanisms to monetize their frauds and receive funds from victims. As cryptocurrencies have risen in popularity and become more widely available, criminal actors have now migrated into this space and are primarily using cryptocurrencies as the medium to obtain funds from their victims,” said Sgt. Trevor Thompson, financial crime unit, WPS. “In order to combat the rise in the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal enterprises, police must adapt. Specialized tools and training are required to provide the knowledge and ability to conduct thorough investigations into crimes involving the use of cryptocurrencies. These tools combined with the specialized training will assist police in identifying and prosecuting offenders and in the tracking and possible recovery of digital assets, which can then be returned to victims.”

Since its inception in 2009, the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund has distributed more than $20 million back to communities throughout the province.

For more information about criminal property forfeiture, visit https://gov.mb.ca/justice/commsafe/cpf/index.html.

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