The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (“CAFC”) is Canada’s foremost agency and service for fraud and identity theft. They provide crucial assistance to law enforcement agencies by identifying fraudulent activities and act as a repository for fraudulent claims. Worryingly, the CAFC is seeing an increase in the amount of money lost due to fraud each year. As an example, in 2022 alone approximately $530 million dollars was lost due to fraud.
As technology has progressed, it has made it easier for fraudsters to target the elderly. In response, the CAFC has produced a handy guide to help seniors recognise common types of fraud in Canada. The three highest types of fraud for the elderly in 2022 involved investments, romance scams, and service scams. Investments were by far the largest area of financial loss, totalling $79 million dollars.
These scams are perpetrated by fraudsters who advertise investment opportunities that offer higher than normal or true monetary return, the likely outcome of which is losing most or all of your investment money. The highest proportion of investment scams that the CAFC received notice of involve crypto currencies, an emerging area of investment in Canada.
The CAFC guide highlights several red flags that are indicative of investment scams, including: unsolicited messages via social media or email, displays of urgency not to ‘miss out’ on an investment, or internet strangers convincing you to invest your money.
Emergency grandparent scams
Recently, the CAFC has issued warnings about to rise of so-called ‘grandparent scams’, which occur when fraudsters target the elderly by pretending to be a loved one in financial trouble who need money urgently. These fraudsters will also attempt to steal the identify of those to open fake accounts and will do so by gaining information about people over the phone or via email or text.
The CAFC advises that people should be wary of unsolicited e-mails, texts or phone calls asking for your personal or financial information and should regularly check their credit reports, bank and credit card statements and to report any irregularities.
We thank Lynn Danis of the Ontario Provincial Police for providing us with this information. Lynn has worked alongside CAFC’s operational support unit since 2015.
For more information on the CAFC and the work that they do, you can access their website at: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm