Scams in 2021 cost Canadians millions of dollars

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2021 was a costly year for scams and frauds in Canada, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

By the end of November nearly 46,604 Canadians were victims of fraud, resulting in a loss of $231 million — a difference of about $123 million year over year. There was a very high number of COVID-19 related frauds but the majority of frauds involved online purchases or schemes as more people are using the internet and buying online due to COVID.

“It is very disturbing,” CAFC’s team supervisor Sue Labine told Global News.

Between March 6, 2020 and Nov. 30, 2021 there were 27,330 Canadian victims of fraud for a loss of $7.8 million.

Global News reported some of the top online scams:

  • “Puppy scams: Puppies are advertised for sale online and a payment is requested before seeing the pup. Often, there is no dog or buyers are sent to a fake address
  • Rental scams: Homes are listed for rent online and again, a rent payment is requested before seeing the property. When the renter arrives at the property there is often someone living there
  • Online product scams: A product is offered for sale, but when payment is made it never appears or if it does, it does not resemble what was advertised.”

There were also a ton of extortion scams throughout the year. The most common ones are the CRA scam, the border mail scam and the grandparents scam. These scams involve an intimidating phone call from someone claiming something has gone wrong and if the consumer doesn’t pay up, something bad will happen.

Labine said they always use emotion to target their victims.

“They have different tactics. For one, they’ll call very early in the morning or late at night and it just so happens that they’ve called at the right time and the person was off guard.”

Fraud prevention

The CAFC said there are ways to keep from getting scammed:

1.) Research. It’s always advised you know who you are sending money to.

2.) Use your credit card when making payments because most will reimburse you if you fall victim to a scam.

3.) Contact officials. It’s also advised you work with your bank and let them know if you’re being extorted. If you believe you are a victim, contact your local police.

Labine said while the CAFC can’t take action against fraudsters, it can play a very important role in catching them.

“The information that they (victims) provide to us is linked up to the police,” she said. “And it could link to another report that is undergoing an investigation.”

A CAFC website has up-to-date information on which frauds are most prevalent as well as which ones have taken on a new twist.

This article was originally sourced by