Police push back during Fraud Prevention Month
Tricking people out of their money is as old as time. However, the advent of the internet has made it even easier for fraudsters to steal your money, according to South Bruce OPP Constable Kevin Martin.
“At the end of the day, fraud isn’t new. What is new is, they’re winning,” said Martin.
Two years ago, fraudsters swindled Canadians out of $383 million dollars. Last year, that number jumped 40% to $530 million.
“When you factor in the unreported, that number is astronomical,” explained Martin.
In the Municipality of South Bruce alone, which includes communities like Walkerton, Ont. and Kincardine, Ont., $89,000 has been lost to scammers this year.
Martin said if an offer or phone call or email sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
He added that you can't win a contest that you didn't enter in the first place.
Gift cards are a red flag. If someone contacts you and directs you to buy gift cards, you need to hang up the phone.
“I can’t beat them myself. I need everybody joining together. I need everyone on that line, as a deputy, if you will. That’s because the only way to beat these con artists is to stop paying them. Like a legitimate business that thrives on money, so do they. When they stop making money, hopefully they’ll get a real job,” he said.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the top five frauds based on dollar loss last year were:
- Investment/cryptocurrency scams, $308.6 million lost
- Romance scams, $59 million lost
- Spear phishing scams, $58.1 million lost
- Service scams, $20.6 million lost
- Extortion scams, $19 million lost
March is Fraud Prevention Month across Canada.
“Please, please, please, for March, and all year around, make sure you are aware, make sure you are not paying these con artists, because they’re winning, and we can’t have that as a society. They are taking way too much of our hard-earned money,” said Martin.
You can learn more through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Members of West Region OPP will be holding a news conference in London, Ont. on Wednesday March 22 to discuss the increasing prevalence of the “grandparent scam,” where fraudsters pose as grandchildren in trouble to try to make quick money off of caring and confused grandparents.
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