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CAFC’s list of top frauds in 2019

February 22, 2020 – The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) released the Financial Crime Trend Bulletin for 2019. The new data shows the top 10 most reported frauds as well as the top 10 frauds based on dollar loss in 2019.

The CAFC received 46,465 fraud reports from Canadian consumers and businesses in 2019. These scams produced 19,285 Canadian victims of fraud with a total reported loss of $96,163,328.64. However, the CAFC believes that the actual numbers are much higher since less than 5 percent of fraud victims report their occurrences to the agency.

Top 10 frauds affecting Canadians ranked by number of reports

Top 10 frauds affecting Canadians ranked by number of reports

The CAFC released new data from 2019 in their Financial Crime Trend Bulletin. These are the Top 10 frauds reported by Canadians.

1. Extortion

Reports: 10,278
Victims: 2,101

Extortion happens when someone unlawfully obtains money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution through coercion. Fraudsters use extortion in various scams, including hydro, immigration, ransomware, and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) scam.

2. Personal Info

Reports: 7,742
Victims: 5,262

A lot of scammers are trying to steel personal information by calling or sending an email and pretending to be from a business, government agency, a bank, or utility company. They request information such as name, address, birth date, account information, and SIN. The provided information is often used to conduct identity fraud.

3. Phishing

Reports: 5,053
Victims: 1,384

Scammers who use phishing methods are targeting personal information as well. They send emails that appear to be from a recognizable institution or company. In those emails, they either ask for personal or financial information or try to encourage their victims to click on malicious links or attachments, which infects the computer with a virus or malware.

4. Service Frauds

Reports 3,547
Victims: 1,779

Some scammers offer services, which they either carry out with an outcome of low quality or they do not complete the paid work at all. These schemes include financial services, telecommunications, insurance, tech support scams, and immigration scams.

5. Merchandise Scams

Reports: 2,452
Victims: 1,759

Fraudsters constantly try to sell merchandise through fake ads online. They use fake company websites, classified ads sites, and resale sites to reach the potential victims to sell their counterfeit products, event tickets, or try to rent apartments, cottages and vacation rentals.

6. Sale of Merchandise

Reports: 2,211
Victims: 1,526

Scammers may also reply to posted online advertisements. They claim to be interested in your product. They say that they are currently located out of town and offer to buy the product unseen. However, they will use various tactics to avoid paying such as spoofed payments, claiming account problems, or using an overpayment scheme.

7. Job Scams

Reports: 1,702
Victims: 682

Fraudsters who target people looking for employment conduct job scams. They offer apparently lucrative jobs such as car wrapping, becoming a financial agent, or a mystery shopper. Most job scams use counterfeit cheques that bounce as soon as further deposits to the fraudsters accounts have been made.

8. Prize or Lottery Scams

Reports: 1,200
Victims: 318

In a prize or lottery scam, fraudsters contact their victims via email, phone, website pop-ups, among others, to pursuade them that they have won a prize or that they have a chance at winning a lottery.  In order to receive any winnings, the scammers often claim that an advance fee or a purchase is needed.

9. Bank Investigator Scam

Reports: 1,083
Victims: 366

Phone scammers often pretend to be a bank investigator and ask their victims for help to catch a bank employee who has been stealing money. Part of the scheme is that they ask their victims to go to their bank and make a cash withdrawal from their account, which they hand over to the fraudster afterwards.

10. Romance Fraud

Reports: 975
Victims: 682

Romance scammers often use fake profiles on social media or on popular dating apps, where they get in touch with their victims. Ultimately, the romance rogue will convince their mark that they are in love and committed to building a serious relationship with their victim. After they gained their victim’s trust, the bogus Valentine’s make up a story with some kind of emergency and ask for money.

Top 10 frauds affecting Canadians ranked by dollar loss

Top 10 frauds affecting Canadians ranked by dollar loss

The CAFC released new data from 2019 in their Financial Crime Trend Bulletin. These are the Top 10 frauds reported by Canadians ranked by dollar loss.

1. Spear Phishing

Dollar Loss: 21,404,827.08

Scammers use phishing methods and pretend to be from a legitimate source in order to convince businesses or individuals to transfer money to their accounts. They send emails that appear to be from existing businesses or people who have some kind of relationship with the victim. Often, the sender’s address appears to be the actual email address of the source they are pretending to be, a tactic known as spoofing. Variations are the Business executive spoofs, financial industry client spoof, head office spoof, payroll spoof, or the supplier swindle.

2. Romance Fraud

Dollar Loss: $18,327,896.93

Romance scammers often use fake profiles on social media or on popular dating apps, where they get in touch with their victims. Ultimately, the romance rogue will convince their mark that they are in love and committed to building a serious relationship with their victim. After they gained their victim’s trust, the bogus Valentine’s make up a story with some kind of emergency and ask for money.

3. Investment Scams

Dollar Loss: $10,719,376.29

An investment scam is any solicitation for investments into false or deceptive investment opportunities. Often, these opportunities falsely promise higher-than-normal returns. However, investors lose most or all their money in these Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, or pump-and-dump schemes, etc.

4. Extortion

Dollar Loss: $9,233,115.11

Extortion happens when someone unlawfully obtains money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution through coercion. Fraudsters use extortion in various scams, including hydro, immigration, ransomware, and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) scam.

5. Service Frauds

Dollar Loss: $7,158,372.64

Some scammers offer services, which they either carry out with an outcome of low quality or they do not complete the paid work at all. These schemes include financial services, telecommunications, insurance, tech support scams, and immigration scams.

6. Prize or Lottery Scams

Dollar Loss: $3,386,269.00

In a prize or lottery scam, fraudsters contact their victims via email, phone, website pop-ups, among others, to pursuade them that they have won a prize or that they have a chance at winning a lottery.  In order to receive any winnings, the scammers often claim that an advance fee or a purchase is needed.

7. Bank Investigator Scam

Dollar Loss: $3,237,667.43

Phone scammers often pretend to be a bank investigator and ask their victims for help to catch a bank employee who has been stealing money. Part of the scheme is that they ask their victims to go to their bank and make a cash withdrawal from their account, which they hand over to the fraudster afterwards.

8. Sale of Merchandise

Dollar Loss: $2,686,904.31

Scammers may also reply to posted online advertisements. They claim to be interested in your product. They say that they are currently located out of town and offer to buy the product unseen. However, they will use various tactics to avoid paying such as spoofed payments, claiming account problems, or using an overpayment scheme.

9. Merchandise Scams

Dollar Loss: $2,593,007.04

Fraudsters constantly try to sell merchandise through fake ads online. They use fake company websites, classified ads sites, and resale sites to reach the potential victims to sell their counterfeit products, event tickets, or try to rent apartments, cottages and vacation rentals.

10. Timeshare Scams

Dollar Loss: $2,477,196.56

Often fraudsters who are conducting rental scams are using timeshare offers to dupe their victims. Scams can include hidden booking or maintenance fees, ot that the company is going out of business once they secure a deposit.

The CAFC has provided the following tips to help protect yourself from fraud.

  • Create strong passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Setup multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for someone else to access your access your accounts.
  • Update the privacy settings attached to your social network accounts.
  • Be familiar with the terms of service and how payment methods work before you using them. Look for a fraud protection policy.
  • Never, under any circumstance, accept money and send money to a third party. You may, unknowingly, be participating in money laundering which is a criminal offence.
  • Avoid reacting automatically. Take five minutes to ask additional questions and listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, as someone else about it.
  • Remain current on frauds and protect others by sharing what you know. Tell two other and ask them to do the same. An unbroken chain of 25 people telling two would cover the entire population of Canada.
  • Do not trust the information on your call display because it can easily be manipulated.
  • Do not provide your personal or financial information on demand.
  • Do not open an attachment or click a link in a unsolicited email or text message.