The Ontario Provincial Police are cautioning anyone who has been scammed to immediately report the scam or fraud to the police, even if a financial transaction did not occur.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians have lost more than $43 million so far this year to cybercriminals and stand to lose even more. These criminals continue to use traditional frauds and scams, such as phishing, service and romance, to extort money from their victims.
Victims experience emotional impact and personal embarrassment and are not as likely to report the crime when they have fallen victim to a scam or fraud. For example, the romance scam, one of the most under-reported scams, caused 776 victims to lose $23 million last year. The actual number of victims is likely greater, as police estimate that 95 per cent of these crimes go unreported.
Police say victims of a scam or fraud should
Stay calm and contact local police
Stop all communication with the scammer
Gather all records and correspondence
Notify financial institutions that accounts may be affected
Change passwords to accounts, including social media
Update computer security software
Even if a victim did not lose money, it is important to report the scam or fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Reports help police 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.