As the economy continues to change in Canada, new fraud and scams are continuing as well.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, March is Fraud prevention month as the CAFC brings increased awareness about the common and recent scams of 2023.
As of January, over six thousand reports of fraud were made and over three thousand residents were victims, according to data released from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
“This month I received a few fraudulent emails saying stuff like I won money for something random and it’ll say click this link,” said Alexis Barran, a student at Seneca King campus in Toronto.
“The emails are obviously fake but at first it really worried me because I use this email address for everything and I wasn’t expecting any money at all,” she said.
Common and recent scams of 2023 include imitations of real services such as banking services, insurance, technology support, or phone and television providers, reported by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Residents are also targeted over the internet via email, by phone, or in person according to the report.
“My guess is that almost every single Canadian with a phone or computer has experienced a fraud attempt against them this year, and probably multiple attempts at that,” said Professor Daniel Schwartz, Coordinator for the Protection, Security, and Investigation program at Humber college in Toronto.
The specific reports of fraudulent services to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre were air duct cleaners, cell phone companies, assistance with government documents, immigration websites, and resales.
In an interview Professor Schwartz said, ‘being a victim of fraud or scams isn’t something people should be embarrassed about.’ Schwartz continued to say that there’s sometimes a reluctance to report fraud because of the stigma attached.
Image courtesy of the CAFC, protection agaisnt text scams.
As the number of online accounts that people maintain steadily grows, the temptation to reuse passwords grows as well. This could then pose higher risks due to scammers attempting to access various online accounts.
“One easy-to-implement solution is to use a password manager, I won’t recommend any particular brand but a quick online search from unbiased sources will reveal many options,” said Professor Schwartz.
As the nature of fraud is for perpetrators to remain one step ahead of law enforcement in terms of technological abilities, Professor Schwartz confirms he doubts there will be an end to this trend anytime soon.
“Law enforcement and citizens working together can lessen the amount of fraud – with better data on fraud, law enforcement is better equipped to track trends and policymakers are more likely to enact relevant legislation,” said Professor Schwartz.
If a scam or fraud attempt occurs, residents can report incidents immediately to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by phone at 1-888-495-8501, Monday to Friday.
For more information about protection online, in person, and what to do if someone becomes a victim of fraud, visit the Government of Canada’s scam and fraud information page.
Edited by Kavya Venkateshwaran
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