Even though many overseas scam boiler rooms and call centers closed down at the beginning of the pandemic, Canadians spent more time online or on social media, which made many people more vulnerable to investment fraud, romance scams, and other online criminal activity. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said that fraudsters continue to become more sophisticated and unfortunately many Canadians are losing millions of dollars to online criminal acts.
Investment scams were the top scam in Canada in 2021. Sue Labine, who is the call centre supervisor for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) told CTV News that a collective $70.2 million was reported lost to this scam.
Romance scams took second place last year, with a reported loss of $42.2 million.
Spearfishing or Email Phishing scams came in third, with a reported loss of $38 million.
The number four scam of 2021 is Merchandising and Non-delivery of merchandise scams at $5.6 million in losses.
Coming in at number five is Service scams at $4.8 million in losses.
Keep in mind that these numbers only reflect losses reported to the Anti-Fraud Centre, many financial losses are not reported due to embarrassment or unawareness that they have fallen victim to an online scam. Officials encourage the public to report any online fraud as it can aid them in tracking criminal activity and helps raise awareness to order to prevent others from falling victim to the same scams. The CAFC has a long list of tips to help Canadians stay safe this holiday season.