Fraud Prevention Month

March is Fraud Prevention Month

Every year, thousands of Canadians fall victim to fraud. Most people don’t think it could happen to them, but fraudsters increasingly use sophisticated methods to target people from all walks of life. More and more of these schemes are being attributed to organized crime. The impact on individuals, families and businesses is devastating – retirement savings, homes, businesses and in some cases, lives have all been lost.  The impact of Covid-19 scams in Canada between March 2020 and January 2021 saw over $7M lost to fraud.

Cyber-related incident numbers at a glance*

  • The top reported incident in 2020 overall was spear-phishing (1,367 reports involving 648 victims with a possible dollar loss of just under $27.9 million). Of those 648 victims, 472 were Canadians. A separate category includes reports of what is categorized as general phishing fraud (just over 3,400 reports representing just over 1,000 people).
  • The second-highest incident was romance-related scams (1,357 reports involving 868 victims with a possible dollar loss of just over $24 million).
  • The third-highest incident was investment scams (585 reports involving 508 people with a possible dollar loss of just over $19 million).
  • These three categories total $71 million of the $101 million in cyber-related losses for last year.
  • Of the overall fraud incidents (including cyber-related) reported to the centre in 2020, extortion led the list (17,360 reports representing 6,689 victims and losses totalling $12.5 million). This was followed by identity fraud (16,970 reports representing 16,970 people) and personal information scams, such as phone scams (6,649 representing 4,386 people).

*The post cyber fraud complaints in Canada took huge leap in 2020 first appeared on IT World Canada.

It’s sometimes hard to keep on top of all the information you need to know to keep your money and your personal information safe. Terms like “identity theft,” “debit card fraud” and “phishing” can sound scary and you may not know where to turn to get clear information about what these terms mean and how you can protect yourself.

The good news is that the majority of frauds can be prevented by identifying the methods used by fraudsters. The more you know about a fraud, the less likely you are to fall for it. Through awareness, you can avoid becoming a victim. 

Complete our Fraud Month Quiz to see how cyber savvy and fraud aware you are.  After testing yourself on our quiz, refresh your best practices by reviewing the following resources:

Are you experiencing frequent phishing attempts? Do you feel prepared to identify and defend against this type of threat? Phishing emails are one of the most common and destructive online threats. Because they are so common, it’s important to know how to spot one.

Learn more about creating, using and protecting your data with strong passwords – plus get up to speed with some fascinating facts:

Information Security handouts for Parents, Students and Seniors

External Resources:

Reporting Fraud

Equifax Canada Identity Theft Education

Get Cyber Safe is a national public awareness campaign created to inform Canadians about cyber security and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online.

Competition Bureau – Preventing Fraud

Consumer Protection BC – Scams and Fraud

SonicWALL Phishing IQ Test Test your knowledge of Phishing and Scams