Fraud artists are cleaning up as a battered economy is the prime picking time for scams. Shady offers, once easily dismissed as a scam, are now popping up all over Canada and the number of victims is growing rapidly. Recessions are considered a booming time for the fraudsters as desperate Canadians are falling into traps that offer quick and easy cash by phone, mail and online.
Phonebusters, the Canadian anti-fraud call centre (run by the RCMP), the Competition Bureau and the O.P.P have released statistics showing that Canadians are falling for a ranging variety of scams during this recession. All offices have stated that Canadians are vulnerable and lowering their defences during tough times, in turn, making bad decisions that they normally wouldn’t make. New scams have arised with promises of employment as part of the scams. Other scams that had disappeared as the public gained knowledge are now making a comeback. These scams include the lottery scam and especially the Nigerian letter scam.
The Nigerian letter scam offers a too good to be true promise of sometimes millions in exchange for some minor help with banking transactions. This is offered through a letter, usually in broken English with grammatical errors. On average 10 Canadians month are still falling for this scam and are being milked for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In June, 4 people reported losses of almost $73 000 and in May, 11 people reported being scammed with a loss of $571 000. These losses are considered small in comparison to the losses from mass marketing fraud, identity theft and telephone scams. Most of these scams include offers for investment opportunities, inheritance claims, prizes and lottery winnings.
With more than 1000 Canadians contacting Phonebusters every month in regards to identity theft and roughly 6 700 complaints this year, there has been a total loss of over $5.2 Million from identity theft alone. Last year saw more than 11 000 cases reported by victims and losses surpassing $9.6 Million. These numbers are not as accurate as you think with most people that are taken for less than $100 not even reporting their crimes. If you take that number of 11 000 and multiply it by 10, you would get a closer estimation as to how many people are actually victimized each year. If you’ve been scammed, contact your local authorities immediately regardless of the amount.
How can you prevent it?
Call your local securities commission to check if the person is regulated and registered.
If you feel that someone is rushing you or pressuring you, be weary.
Do your research on the person and the investment before you come to a decision.
Protect your equity with a knowledged Toronto mortgage Broker
Check out our great collection of Mortgage Tools. Calculators, Home Owners Checklists and more!
The most comprehensive Mortgage Glossary online bar none.