Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is reminding people to report fraud as the amount defrauded from Canadians last year hit more than $100 million.
According to recent data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost $106.4 million to fraud in 2020, of which $62.6 million was related to online fraud.
Since the pandemic hit full force last March, 11,789 Canadians have reported losing $7.2 million to COVID related fraud. Romance scams have also been big, defrauding Canadians out of $18.5 million last year.
This year, 7,646 Canadians have already lost $34.6 million to various fraud scams.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the top 10 frauds by number of reports in 2020 were:
- Extortion – 17,390
- Identity fraud – 16,970
- Personal information – 6,649
- Phishing – 3,672
- Merchandise – 3,354
- Victim vendor (payment scam) – 2,320
- Job scams – 2,297
- Service oriented – 2,009
- Spear phishing (targeting business) – 1,049
- Emergency (fraudulent calls) – 924
But if fraud isn’t reported, there’s not much the authorities can do about it.
“Those who commit these kinds of crimes are rarely amateurs and know how to prey on people’s fears,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, in a Monday (March 22) news release.
“March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and it’s a good time to remind everyone that no one can identify who you are when you call Crime Stoppers anonymously with information that could lead to these criminals being found and arrested.”
To report fraud to Crime Stoppers, anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3” app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477 or 1-800-222- 8477 or online at solvecrime.ca. Crime Stoppers is available 24 hours a day, can take information in 115 language and could provide a reward of up to $5,000.
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