The OPP are warning anyone who has been scammed to report the scam or fraud to the police immediately, even if a financial transaction did not occur, because Canadians have lost over $43 million so far this year to cybercriminals and could lose even more, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Scammers continue to use traditional frauds and scams, such as phishing, service and romance, to extort money from their victims. Because victims experience emotional impact and personal embarrassment, they are not as likely to report when they have been scammed or defrauded, according to police. Romance scams, one of the most under-reported scams, caused 776 victims to lose $23 million last year, but the actual number of victims is likely greater, as police estimate that 95 per cent of such crimes go unreported.
The OPP recommend that victims should stay calm, call the police and stop all communication with the scammer. They also advise victims to gather all records and correspondence, notify their financial institutions that accounts may be affected and update computer security software along with changing passwords to accounts, including social media.
It’s important to report the scam or fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre even if a victim did not lose money, according to police. Reports help the OPP with their investigations and identify current types of scams and frauds while informing proactive criminal prevention programs.
If you or someone you know suspects they have been targeted by digital or online cybercrime, contact your local police service or local OPP detachment, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or p3tips.com.