Fraud Prevention Month

March is Fraud Prevention Month

Every year, we take the month of March to focus on fraud prevention, and with good reason. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, fraudsters continue to find more sophisticated and detailed means of tricking Canadians out of their money. While none of the most “lucrative” types of fraud are particularly new concepts, changes to the way Canadians spend their time and new methods of delivery have made us more susceptible to certain types of fraud. 

Cyber-related incident numbers at a glance*

  • The scam that cost Canadians the most in 2021 was the investment scam ($163.9 million in losses). 
    • Fraudsters set up fake but professional-looking investment websites which lure victims into buying phony stocks or cryptocurrency.
    • Especially lucrative thanks to increased interest in trading during the pandemic.
  • The second most costly scam was the romance scam (Over $64.6 million in losses).
    • Fraudsters create fake profiles on dating websites or social media to have online relationships with people and ultimately ask them for money.
    • Stolen photos, psychological manipulation, and sob stories are all used to make these requests more convincing.
  • The third most costly type of scam was spear phishing ($54 million in losses).
    • More sophisticated than a regular phishing scam, spear phishers target single or small groups of individuals and pretend to be with the government, a trusted organization, or someone the target knows.
    • Spear phishing messages often don’t include an outright request for money, and instead establish a dialogue with the victim before making the request.
  • These three categories account for 75% (over $282.5 million) of the $379 million in cyber-related losses for last year.
  • Identity fraud (30,849 reports) and Extortion (30,361 reports) were the two most reported types of fraud.

*Numbers taken from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of victims file a fraud report with the CAFC.

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