Fraud is a problem that seems to get worse every year, especially with the emergence of new technologies.
March is the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association’s (ACCPA) fraud prevention month each year and normally there would be a number of events across the province with tips and info on how fraud impacts communities. Due to COVID-19, events like these are not in line with health guidelines but RCMP still wants to get the tips out to help you stay safe.
In 2020, there were 10,504 reports of fraud in Alberta last year, with 915 cases during last March alone.
RCMP investigators said the key to fraud-prevention is keeping you and your loved ones’ finances and personal information safe.
The most common types of frauds included scammers claiming to be banking or credit card services, government agencies with a notorious example being the CRA scam, and even scammers claiming to be customer service representatives.
Learning how to detect potential fraud is the best defense against falling victim to the crime, according to RCMP.
RCMP suggests you be cautious of calls from unfamiliar area codes or numbers, emails from unknown senders and online or over-the-phone requests for immediate payments or money transfers.
Another way to spot a scam is if personal or financial information is being requested by text, email or a pre-recorded message.
Many scams ask for victims to pay using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and if you are unfamiliar with how those work, you should avoid dealing with them.
Between March 6, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021, there were 13,553 reports of COVID-19 related fraud in Canada, resulting in 11,789 victims and $7.2-million lost to pandemic-related frauds in that time, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
As of Jan. 31, there have been 4,833 reports of fraud in Canada this year, which has resulted in 3,313 victims across the country. That equates to about $10.1-million dollars lost to fraud in the first month of this year alone.
If you want to learn more about fraud in Canada or have fallen victim to fraud you can report it to antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
You can find more fraud prevention tips from RCMP this month by following @RCMPAlberta on Twitter or RCMP in Alberta on Facebook.