Scammers made off with $379 million of Canadians’ money in 2021, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, CAFC. This is a 130 per cent increase over 2020.
CAFC, RCMP and Competition Bureau again are combining efforts this March for the 18th annual Fraud Prevention Month.
CAFC notes that over the last two years many people have turned to online services and devices to carry on with their daily activities. They caution that people need to remain vigilant since fraudsters use impersonation tactics to pose as a trusted source to steal money or personal information.
“Fraud is having real impacts,” says Chris Lynam, Director General of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit, RCMP.
“Many don’t think it could happen to them but last year’s jump in reported financial losses demonstrates that that’s not true. While law enforcement and partners continue to work to prevent and disrupt fraudsters, we need Canadians to learn how to protect themselves and always report.”
CAFC notes that only 5 per cent of fraud cases are reported and the highest financial loss in 2021 was investment scamming, with losses exceeding $113 million. This was a new trend seen by the CAFC, with a noticeable increase in cryptocurrency investment scams.
CAFC and the RCMP’s National Cybercrime Coordination Unit are working together to develop a new national reporting system for individuals, businesses and other organizations to report fraud and cybercrime incidents to law enforcement. The new system is expected to officially launch in 2023-2024.
Canadians are encouraged to report fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and visit their website for more information.
Several community groups are hosting activities in March including the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association.