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Top 10 scams that impacted Canadians in 2019

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm EDT

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is releasing details about the millions of dollars that tens of thousands of Canadians lost in 2019 to fraud.

They say 46,465 fraud reports were filed last year, where the victims reported losing over $96,163,328.

The agency also ranked the top 10 frauds that have impacted Canadians most.

Top 10  frauds ranked by number of reports

Extortion fraud had the most numbers of victims.


Top 10 frauds ranked by dollar loss

Spear phishing was the highest earning scam, with over $21 million dollars lost. Spear phishing involves emails, apparently from a known or trusted sender, that may get a person to reveal confidential information.


How to protect yourself

The CAFC estimates that less than five per cent of fraud victims file a report, and encourages anyone who believes they or someone else has been targeted by a scam to call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report it online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

CAFC has also released a series of tips on how Canadians can protect themselves:

  • Create strong passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Setup multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for someone else to access your accounts.
  • Update the privacy settings attached to your social network accounts.
  • Be familiar with the terms of service and how payment methods work before using them. Look for a fraud protection policy.
  • Never, under any circumstances, accept money and send money to a third party. You may, unknowingly, be participating in money laundering which is a criminal offence.
  • Avoid reacting automatically. Take five minutes to ask additional questions and listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, ask someone else about it.
  • Remain current on frauds and protect others by sharing what you know. Tell two others and ask them to do the same. An unbroken chain of 25 people telling two others would cover the entire population of Canada.
  • Do not trust the information on your call display because it can easily be manipulated.
  • Do not provide your personal or financial information on demand.
  • Do not open an attachment or click a link in an unsolicited email or text message.

Watch: Cyber security expert weighs in on how many fraud incidents could be going unreported