New scam, who dis?

Anna Delvey and the Tinder Swindler made the con lifestyle seem luxurious and lucrative—but the most dangerous scammers are the ones without flashy clothes and an entourage. All they need is a phone or computer and a “mark.” 

Driving the news: RCMP cybersecurity director Chris Lynam advised MPs earlier this month that Canadians must be on guard for scams. 

  • From 2020 to 2021, scams increased by 130%. Since January of this year, scammers have stolen $332 million, keeping pace with 2021.

  • Calling the fraudsters “adaptive people” who can “easily pivot to adopt the newest technique,” he said Canadians need to better understand how to spot a scam and report it.

Why it’s happening: The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has filed over 60,000 complaints and helped 39,000 victims this year alone—but the CAFC estimates that only five to ten percent of victims report scams to law enforcement (because getting scammed can feel embarrassing).

  • But reporting scams not only helps authorities close in on the con artists, it can also help others avoid new scams, like this taxi scam in Toronto that went viral and led to the perpetrator’s arrest.

Here are some of the latest scams to be on the look out for:

  • Scammers pose as CAFC employees over the phone and ask for your help to catch a bank employee who’s been stealing money. Hang up! You’re the one about to get “gotcha’d.”

  • Scammers pose as government employees, utility workers or insurance agents reaching out to those affected by Hurricane Fiona to “verify” personal information about financial assistance. A new angle on an old phishing scheme.

  • Scammers target the elderly by ringing them up and posing as a loved one in a dire financial situation, pleading with them to send money. This is known as the “grandparent scam.”

Bottom line: October is Cyber Security Awareness month, so now is a good time to get informed and become aware of all the cons circulating. If you fall victim to a scam, follow this five-step guide to maximize the odds of getting compensation.