While many overseas scam boiler rooms and call centres closed down at the beginning the pandemic, they came back with a vengeance as COVID-19 dragged on in 2021.
Whether it was because Canadians spent more time online or on social media, many were more susceptible to investment fraud, romance scams and other criminal activity.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said that fraudsters have become more sophisticated and detailed and unfortunately many Canadians are losing millions of dollars to criminals.
Sue Labine, Call Centre Supervisor for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said the top scam in Canada from January 2021 to September of this year is the investment scam, with Canadians losing $70.2 million.
Scammers may create fake accounts and advise people to invest in cryptocurrencies, and while the websites may look very real to the victim they are fraudulent with none of their money ever really invested.
“It is very devastating unfortunately for these people. Quite often they do need further counseling and how to deal with that type of loss,” said Labine.
“We also advise people to communicate with their bank to see if there is any way of being refunded some of that money seeing as they are a victim of fraud,” Labine added.
In the number two spot for scams in 2021 is the romance scam, where criminals use social media and dating sites to have virtual relationships with people and then eventually ask them for money.