March is Fraud Prevention Month and throughout the month we’ll be sharing Fraud Alerts and additional information on how to recognize, reject and report fraud. Visit www.barriepolice.ca/Fraud-Prevention for more information.
In 2022, the CAFC received fraud reports totaling a staggering $530 million in victim losses. This was nearly a 40% increase from the 2021, unprecedented $380 million in losses. In 2021, approximately 75% of all reports the CAFC received were cyber enabled, and this is expected to increased year-over-year. It is estimated that only 5-10% of victims report scams and frauds to the CAFC or law enforcement.
According to the CAFC, in 2022, the top frauds affecting Canadians on a daily basis were:
- Investment frauds represented $308 million in reported losses in 2022. Ontario victims reported losing over $136 million.
- Romance frauds represented $59 million in reported losses in 2022. Ontario victims reported losing over $20 million.
- Spear phishing frauds (Business Email Compromise) represented $58 million in reported losses in 2022. Ontario victims reported losing over $21.1 million.
- Service scams represented $20.5 million in reported losses in 2022. Ontario victims reported losing over $8.1 million.
- Extortion frauds represented $19 million in reported losses in 2022. Ontario victims reported losing over $4.8 million.
Tips for spotting fraud
Would you know a fraud if you saw it? Fraudsters are trying new and different ways to scam the public, but there are a few common signs to help determine if that too-good-to-be-true offer or that threatening email are scams.
A sense of urgency
The scam may be encouraging you to take up the offer before time runs out, or it may be threatening you with a negative action if you don’t act quickly enough. No matter how pressured you feel, there is always time to reach out for confirmation. No reputable company will penalize you for taking time to verify their claims.
Asking for personal information
Just because someone who has reached out to you has some personal information about you, doesn’t mean you have to confirm any additional information. If they claim to be from a known organization, reach out to that organization separately and confirm they were trying to contact you.
It sounds too good to be true
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Investment opportunities, online romances, high-paying job offers may all be exciting to receive but talk to trusted friends and family members, and do some research before jumping in.
How to report fraud
If you suspect you may be a target of fraud, or if you have already sent funds, don’t be embarrassed – you’re not alone. If you have been a victim, reporting fraud for police to investigate helps to identify trends or link crimes. Gather all information related to the fraud and reporting it to your financial institution to flag your accounts. Once you report the fraud to police, you will be given a file number that you can use to reference the occurrence and update with additional information if applicable.
If you have encountered a fraud attempt, but have not lost any money or personal information, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). The CAFC compiles information on reported frauds to help inform the public.
If you have lost money through fraud, contact the Barrie Police Service Fraud Unit at 705-725-7025 or report it online at www.BarriePolice.ca.