Canada loses millions in online scams

According to CBC News, 6492 incidents of fraud were reported to Edmonton Police last year, resulting in a loss of about $35 million. The cases involved extortion, cheque fraud, online scams, fraudulent contracts, general complaints, and identity theft. Bank frauds, business scams, and romance scams mostly took money from the citizens, as reported by the Police Chief, Dale McFee.

People need to be educated regarding the proper use of social media and the methods to prevent online frauds and scams. In 2019, $723000 were lost by Edmontonians due to fake online merchandise and ticket sales. Keith Pulles, a hockey fan, reported how he was tricked into losing $600 in an online scam. He explained that he wanted to purchase tickets for the upcoming hockey game and he got connected with an online fraudster, who went through a complicated process that involved a third party, an e-transfer, and bitcoin.

The fraudster talked to Pulles several times on the phone, attempting to build a connection with him. Pulles, who was initially reluctant, ultimately relented and transferred him the bitcoin. However, he did not receive the game tickets following the transaction. Pulles advised people on how to trust their instincts when they are in an uncomfortable situation, especially if it involves money. 

Pulles informed the Police regarding the incident but many such cases are not even brought to light. Chief Dale McFee stated, 

“We know there are many citizens who have been taken advantage of by scammers and do not have the strength to come forward and report what they’ve been through and what they have lost because they are too afraid or perhaps embarrassed,”

It is urged that anyone who has experienced an online scam or fraud should report it to the Police so that strict measures are taken against fraudsters and their evil schemes.