February is Fraud Awareness Month


2023-02-09 11:33 PST

File # 2023-1436

Chart showing number of frauds reported, total amount and money lost

Grandson scams, refund scams, CRA scams and gift card scams are just some of the hundreds of scams being carried out every day across Canada. As of December 31, 2022, over 90,000 frauds with losses totalling $530 million had been reported to the Canadian Anti Fraud Center. While these losses are alarming, what is more disturbing is that statistically, only 5 percent of all frauds are ever reported.

We all must remain vigilant when it comes to protecting our hard earned money. Know the signs and know what to look for so you don’t fall prey, said R/Cst Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP

The following are some of the more prevalent frauds currently being carried out in Nanaimo.

Grandson scam or Emergency scam

This has been around for years but is still one of the more effective scams because it tugs at the victim’s heartstrings. In this scam, a fraudster makes a cold call claiming to be a grandson, family member or even a law enforcement officer calling on behalf of the loved one. The caller says that they were involved in a car accident, have been arrested, became sick, or may have been injured,  etc. They plea for money to pay their bail, legal fees or mounting hospital bills. They claim that they cannot say more do to a ban on court proceedings or that they are too embarrassed. The victim is then directed to attend to their financial institution and withdraw money. In some cases, fraudsters actually come to the victims home to pick up the money. In most cases, the victim is directed to wire or send money via courier services. Some have even been directed to pay by cryptocurrency. Recently, a Nanaimo senior lost $8000.

Gift card scam

A cold call is made and the victim is told that their credit card has been compromised or that they owe back taxes. The caller claims to work for a bank or the CRA and tells you that in order to pay or settle the bill, the victim must purchase a number of gift cards. The victim is told where to purchase the cards and when the cards are purchased, they are to call the fraudster back and provide the 10-digit code that is on the back of each card. Recently, several people in Nanaimo lave lost between $2000 to $15,000.

Refund scam

The victim receives a text message or email claiming that they are entitled to a GST rebate, or a gas rebate. They are then directed to respond to a text with certain letters. This is a scam that attempts to harvest your personal information or credit card data. In one recent case, a victim received a text indicating there was a pricing issue with a recent delivery. To receive the funds, they were told to respond with YES. This activated a link that was then sent to them. The victim opened the link and shortly thereafter, the fraudster managed to access the victims banking app and withdrew just under $2000 from their bank account. The victim did not realize the money was even gone until some days later when they attempted to send an e-transfer. The fraudster was also able to change the name on the victims banking account.

There are many scams being carried out on any given day. If you provided personal information have lost money, call your local police department. Otherwise, contact the the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online at  the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


Released by

Cst. Gary O'Brien
Media Relations Officer
Nanaimo RCMP
303 Prideaux St, Nanaimo, BC V9R 2N3
Office: 250-755-4460 Ext. 4533
Cell: 250-713-0701
Fax: 250-755-3238

Email: gary.obrien@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: nanaimo.rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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