Have you been scammed and need help? Call today to discuss how Discreet Investigations can help.

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Many of us have encountered those dubious phone calls, whether it be from a person insisting they’re cleaning air ducts, an automated message about a stuck Amazon package, or a supposed warning from the Canada Revenue Agency about unpaid taxes. Often, these are all scams.

A February Ipsos survey revealed that 43 percent of Canadians have fallen prey to fraud at some point in their lives, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre recorded 92,078 instances of fraud in 2022. As more interactions occur online and the sophistication of artificial intelligence tools increases, distinguishing between genuine and fraudulent communications from organizations becomes increasingly challenging. The Better Business Bureau reports that over 68 percent of all U.S. scam attempts last year were online.

This article will look at insights from anti-fraud specialists and government bodies compiled as a guide on the prevalent scams, what to watch for, and protective measures.

Emergency scam / Grandparent scam

Typically targeting elderly Canadians, this scam involves a call from someone pretending to be a distressed relative or friend needing bail money for an alleged serious offence, like a DUI. Often, a second scammer posing as a lawyer or police officer will take the phone, insisting on immediate financial help to resolve the issue.

Jeff Horncastle from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre highlighted that caller ID spoofing is a common trick in phone scams, making fraudulent calls appear legitimate.

Action Step: If a call raises suspicions, hang up and redial using a known, trusted number. Verify the identity of anyone posing as law enforcement directly through their official contact numbers, and be cautious of urgent monetary requests.

Tech support scams

These scams start with a fraudster contacting you, claiming your computer has been infected and requesting payment for repair services, or even access to your system.

Action Step: Legitimate companies don’t typically make unsolicited calls about computer problems. Verify any tech issues through your security software or consult a reputable tech service provider.

Air duct cleaning fraud

Here, scammers offer household services like air duct cleaning at significantly reduced prices, aiming to collect payment information over the phone or perform substandard work.

Horncastle noted that this scam exploits the difficulty homeowners face in verifying the quality of such services.

Action Step: Research any service offering significantly lower prices than normal to confirm their legitimacy and quality of service.

CRA-related scams

Fraudsters might impersonate government officials to solicit personal or financial information, or to deceive you into making payments.

Action Step: If contacted by someone claiming to be from the government, ask for detailed identification and call back through official government numbers to confirm their claims.

Phishing scams

These scams typically involve emails or texts from familiar entities like FedEx or Amazon, claiming an urgent issue with a delivery.

Action Step: Confirm the authenticity of any urgent messages through alternate communication methods and be wary of any requests for personal information or pressing links in the message.

Emergence of AI in scams

The use of AI in scams, including creating deepfakes and employing AI chatbots in scams like romance frauds, is on the rise.

Action Step: Always verify URLs and the legitimacy of any company that contacts you. Conduct thorough research before engaging with any offers.

Despite the variety of scams, staying informed and vigilant is crucial. Horncastle emphasizes the importance of not rushing decisions and verifying everything thoroughly.

Remember: If you suspect you’ve been scammed, report it to the Anti-Fraud Centre immediately.

Have you been scammed and need help? Call today to discuss how Discreet Investigations can help.

+1 (888) 680-0036

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