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EDITORIAL: Watch out for scam attempts

So far this year, scam activity is showing a marked increase…
The Salmon Arm RCMP have received several calls about another phone scam targeting area residents. (Black Press Files)

Scam calls and bogus emails, whether from people impersonating a Canada Revenue Agency staffer, other federal government employees or other sources, continue to happen far too often.

More importantly, these calls are working to separate Canadians from their money.

So far this year, scam activity is showing a marked increase when compared with figures from last year.

In the first four months of 2021, there were 33,455 reports of fraud and 19,610 Canadian victims, according to information from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The victims lost a total of $66.7 million as a result of these scams.

By comparison, throughout all of 2020, the amount lost to fraud was $104.4 million.

These numbers are for the reported instances of scams and frauds.

According to the RCMP, reporting of cybercrime and fraud is low in Canada, presenting a challenge for enforcement.

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file.

At times, there are obvious signs the call or message is not legitimate, but some of the technology used by scammers has become sophisticated in recent years, making it increasingly difficult to determine if a message is authentic.

In addition, some of the scammers have honed techniques to sound convincing when they call.

Today, more than ever before, it is important to be vigilant when receiving a call or reading a message asking for money.

However, help is available.

The Competition Bureau of Canada has information, including The Little Black Book of Scams, a short document with information about common scams and how to report them.

The RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are available to investigate incidents of fraud.

These sources, along with extra care and caution from all of us, can help to minimize the potential losses from scams and frauds.

–Black Press

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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