Even though 2019 is not even over, police say that Canadians have already lost more than $43 million to cybercriminals.
Using information from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the OPP says that cybercrimes show no signs of stopping any time soon. The CAFC says that the most common crimes — phishing, service scams and romance scams — are continuing to traumatize Canadians.
Along with losing money, victims are also affected in other ways. Victims suffer emotional and psychological damage, as well as embarrassment. Embarrassment is significant, as police believe that many cybercrimes go unreported as people are too embarrassed to admit that they have been duped.
Police estimate up to 95 per cent of cybercrimes go unreported.
This means scams like the very personal romance scam is highly effective and as a result is one of the most underreported. In 2018 alone, 776 people fell victim to the romance scam, losing an estimated $23 million dollars in the process.
The OPP says that even if a victim doesn’t lose money or is able to successfully stop the scam in time, to still report the crime to police. Your report can help police with their investigations, and help them identify current types of scams and frauds.
Police say that if you are a victim of a scam you should: stop all communication with the scammer; gather all records and correspondence; notify financial institutions; change your passwords; and update your computer’s security software.
If you or someone you know suspects they have been affected by cybercrime, contact Greater Sudbury Police Service at 705-675-9171 or Sudbury Rainbow Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or p3tips.com. You should also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Ryan Marcotte is a co-operative education student from Lasalle Secondary School.