Canadians have been scammed out of $163 million this year

Scammers have fleeced Canadians for more than 163 million dollars so far this year.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), says more than 33,000 reports have been filed.

The scam with the highest dollar loss was investment scams, with losses adding up to more than $61.5 million – an average loss of almost $54,000 per person.

Romance scams have been the second most costly at $32 million from 671 victims.

The third and fourth on the list are spear-phishing and extortion.

In terms of numbers of victims, personal info scams top the list with 3,060 victims. A dollar value is not assigned to these scams since the goal is to collect information from a person, not take their money right away.

Two Canadians have fallen vicyim to fraudulent cheque scams, losing a combined $17,738. Two others have lost a combined $346,737 in “gems/precious metals” scams, and just one has been the victim of a scam letter purporting to be from Nigeria, resulting in a $13,000 loss.

Tips for avoiding scams:

  • be wary of high-pressure sales tactics, which push you to sign up for something, buy something or send a person money immediately.
  • be wary of upfront fees when receiving something that is a prize.
  • always research to verify an organization is real and legitimate before sending money to one
  • if a scammer calls and says a family member is in trouble, confirm with another family member
  • don’t give out personal information such as your address, social insurance number or credit card number to an unsolicited caller