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Fraud in Canada hit all-time-high in 2022

More than half a billion dollars lost to scammers last year
Major fraud investigations in B.C. are usually handled by the RCMP’s FSOC unit out of its E Division headquarters in Surrey. (Langley Advance Times files)

Fraud cost Canadians at least $530 million last year, a 40 per cent jump from 2021, according to a recent report by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Canadians reported losing a record amount of money to fraud and cybercrime, but Crime Stoppers BC warns the true number may be even higher, as a great deal of fraud goes unreported.

“Fraud is as much a crime as any other, yet less than five per cent of the tips Crime Stoppers receives relate to fraudulent crime, and criminals shouldn’t get away with it,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

She urged anyone with knowledge of a fraud that could lead to an arrest or charge to contact Crime Stoppers with their information.

“We guarantee your identity will remain totally unknown, you will never go to court and could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $5000,” Annis said. “We’re available 24/7 for anyone wishing to provide information anonymously and we can take your information in 115 languages.”

The top three types of fraud in 2022 were investment scams, including cryptocurrency fraud, romance scams, and “spear phishing attacks”

Investment and crypto frauds cost 4,251 victims about $308 million.

Romance scams impacted 1,056 victims and cost them $59 million.

Phishing attacks, which mostly hit businesses, netted $58 million for the scammers from 739 victims.

Annis shared some tips for avoiding becoming a victim, including:

• Limit the personal information you submit on websites (e.g. do not give your social insurance number or other private information).

• Avoid opening unsolicited emails, links, and files in unknown emails.

• Report any and all cyber-attacks and crime to the police.

• Hire an IT professional or cyber-security contractor to monitor your business network.

• Connect with the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre for additional advice on preparing for, and handling, cyber-events.

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