The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch (ARB) and Serious Fraud Office Ontario (SFO), in concert with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) are launching the annual Fraud Prevention Month campaign.
This year’s national fraud prevention campaign will focus on impersonation scams and various frauds that prey upon vulnerable consumers and businesses. A majority of the scams and frauds involve an aspect of impersonation, with suspects posing as a trusted individual in order to steal victims’ money or personal information.
2021 was an historic year for frauds reported to the CAFC and OPP. According to the CAFC, reported losses have totalled $379 million – a dramatic increase from $164 million in losses in 2020. Ontario residents represented $142 million of the more than $379 million in losses reported to the CAFC in 2021. It is estimated that only 5 per cent of victims report their frauds to law enforcement or the CAFC.
Fraud Prevention Month will focus on highlighting some of the top reported scams from 2021, including investment scams, spear phishing (Business Email Compromise), extortion, service scams, phishing and more.
Significant fraud loss increases
- Investment frauds represented $163 million in reported losses in 2021, more than $33 million in 2020.
- Cryptocurrency payments to fraudsters jumped to $77 million in reported losses 2021, more than $23 million in 2020.
- Spear phishing frauds (Business Email Compromise) represented $53 million in reported losses in 2021, more than $30 million in 2020.
- Extortion frauds represented $17 million in reported losses in 2021, more than $16.4 million in 2020.
- Service scams represented $11.6 million in reported losses in 2021, more than $6.6 million in 2020.
- Phishing/Identity theft reports increased to 7,566 in 2021, versus 6,953 reports in 2020.
The OPP is committed to working together with its law enforcement partners to create awareness by highlighting the various ways that all Ontario residents are being targeted by fraudsters. Through awareness and education, Ontario residents can be better prepared and protected.
“Fraud is an insidious crime. Criminals committing fraud often prey on the vulnerable population in our communities, and count on their crimes not being reported to police due to shame or embarrassment experienced by the victims,” explained Detective Superintendent Dominic Chong, the Director of Financial Crime Services for the OPP. “These crimes are often devastating to the victims and their families.”
“I encourage everyone who has been a victim of fraud to report it to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Victims of fraud are victims of crime, the shame should be placed on the criminals who commit the crime, not on the victims.”
The public is encouraged to engage in the conversation to help recognize, reject and report frauds by using the hashtags #FPM2022 #kNOwFraud, #Take5 #Tell2, #SeriousFraudOfficeON @canantifraud .
If you do fall victim to a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).
The CAFC collects information on fraud and identity theft Canada wide. Contact the CAFC by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online by way of the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.
For more fraud facts and figures and a downloadable booklet (PDF), visit The Competition Bureau of Canada website at https://www.competitionbureau.