The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Competition Bureau of Canada are launching the 19th edition of the Fraud Prevention Month (FPM).
This year’s FPM will focus on “Tricks of the trade: What’s in a fraudster’s toolbox?”. The campaign reflects a need to educate and equip Ontario consumers and businesses alike about some of the most common fraud techniques in the marketplace right now.
With all demographic groups being expected to use technology for many facets of their lives, Canadians are being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals.
Being able to recognize these techniques will go a long way in helping to combat cyber enabled frauds. In the past decade, technology has completely transformed the fraud landscape, which is more widespread and sophisticated than ever before. With the public’s help we want to deliver information, tips and strategies for Ontarians to fight back.
In 2022, the CAFC received fraud reports totalling 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.
How do fraudsters use technology? Fraudsters will create spoofed websites, will use spoofed telephone numbers using Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to mimic legitimate numbers, will have victims download remote entry software providing access to devices and computers or send out phishing texts pretending to be businesses or governments offering refunds.
- Join the OPP in raising awareness in the month of March 2023. Our law partners will be posting social media tips, bulletins, and various other resources.
- On March 9, 2023, at 1 pm EST the OPP, CAFC, Binance Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, and Rogers Communications Inc., will be hosting a live chat to discuss tools fraudsters use to victimize Ontario residents. You can view this live chat on the OPP’s Twitter and Facebook.
“Fraud continues to devastate lives in Ontario and across this country, and the number of frauds being reported is on the rise. One of the best ways to combat fraudsters is to be armed with knowledge, information and awareness. I encourage everyone to learn the information and tips being made available to protect yourself, and to share these with your loved ones to help protect them. Together we can fight back and lessen the impact of fraud on our communities,” said Dominic Chong, OPP Detective Superintendent, Director of Financial Crime Services, Anti-Rackets Branch & Serious Fraud Office.
“Every year millions of dollars are defrauded from the citizens of Ontario utilizing various means and schemes. During the month of March every year, Financial Crime Services (SFO and ARB) in combination with our law enforcement partners, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre raise awareness to the common attacks by fraudsters,” adds B.r. (Brent) Robitaille, OPP Detective Inspector, Anti-Rackets Branch (ARB), Financial Crime Services (FCS). “We encourage the members of Ontario, especially our vulnerable partners, to utilize the tools available to educate and arm themselves to be prepared against the next fraudster. Together we can spot fraud and help to prevent our loved ones and friends become victims.”
Remember…if you fall victim to a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.