Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been in increase in fraud. Fraudsters exploit citizens' fear during uncertain times to facilitate fraud and scams through cybercrime and any other means to obtain your information.
“We would like to remind residents to be cautious when giving out personal information, and to contact the local OPP if you have any concerns,” said Councillor John Barclay and Chair of the North Grenville Police Services Board.
The OPP Grenville Detachment reported an increase in fraud reports this past fall. The CAFC has received 62,333 fraud reports in 2021. Moreover, there have been over 43,200 Canadian victims of fraud this year who reported losing approximately $198 million to fraudsters. Unfortunately, this figure only represents the losses related to approximately five percent of fraud victims who report the crime to police or the CAFC.
Fraudsters have embraced technologies to engage, target and exploit victims, often with devastating financial and emotional effects.
All Canadians can take basic steps to better protect themselves online from becoming a victim of fraud such as:
- Creating strong passwords;
- Avoid opening unsolicited emails or clicking on suspicious links or attachments;
- Restricting the amount of personal information shared publicly - including social media;
- Update technical security software.
If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of a COVID-19 related scam or any other scam, contact the Grenville OPP Detachment (for non-emergent calls) at: 1-888-310-1122 and file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
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According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre some of the scams include:
- New (as of October 2021) - Fraudsters claiming to be Canada Border Services Agency and try to make you believe that a package addressed to you was intercepted by Canada Post containing illegal substances. They will ask for personal information including your: SIN, DOB, name, address, and account balances.
- A scammer claims to be an employee of either the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada and state you owe taxes or have committed a financial crime and threaten that if you do not speak to them immediately, you'll be arrested, fined or even deported.
- “Romance Scams” whereby a scammer convinces you to enter a virtual, online relationship to gain your trust and affection, and eventually ask you for money.
- Government departments sending out phishing emails tricking you into opening malicious attachments and/or tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details.
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