Canada’s Mobile Phone Fraud up 66% since January

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is stepping forward and demanding a solution against robocalls by Feburary 2017. While it’s a big step in the right direction, in the interim, Canadians will continue to get hit by unrelenting fraud calls – and they’re only getting worse. Since January, nuisance calls in Canada have grown 66%. However, since the middle of the year alone, these unwanted calls have increased 93% and show no signs of slowing.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), the first half of 2016 has had more phone scam victims than in all of 2015. An estimated $2.5 million has been lost thus far to consumers this year, already matching the total money lost in 2015.

Until February, the best solution for Canucks is to take a proactive approach. In learning the most common area codes (and even specific numbers) where fraud calls originate and knowing what the top scams look like, consumers can protect themselves by educating themselves. In the infamous words of one IceCube, “check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.” And by “wreck yo’self” I mean “lose money to a fraudster”. So let’s get educated.

Top Canadian Area Codes Where Fraudulent Calls Originate (October 2016):

  1. 613 (Ottawa)
  2. 647 (Toronto)
  3. 416 (Toronto)
  4. 604 (Vancouver)
  5. 204 (Manitoba)
  6. 905 (Ontario)
  7. 519 (Ontario)
  8. 778 (British Columbia)
  9. 403 (Alberta)
  10. 289 (Ontario)

Top 10 Phone Numbers Where Fraudulent Calls Originate:

  1. (204) 556-7459
  2. (519) 315-8813
  3. (613) 230-2890
  4. (416) 640-3489
  5. (604) 504-3469
  6. (613) 691-1347
  7. (403) 313-3718
  8. (613) 691-1348
  9. (604) 296-3232
  10. (403) 279-3268

Top Five Types of Fraud Calls Affecting Mobile Users in Canada:

  1. Credit Card Services Scam. The fraudster pretends to be with a credit card company and offers to lower credit card rates. Victims are tricked into sharing personal or account information.
  2. Car Adverts. Callers will call or text, offering $300 per week to wrap cars in advertisements. Fake cheques are sent to “cover the cost” but recipients are required to make up-front payments to the vinyl graphic artists.
  3. Mystery Shopper. Recipient will receive a call or text from a mystery shopper company who proceeds to ask for personal information to complete an application.
  4. Bank Scam. Fraudsters claim to be from a bank and trick recipients into logging into a fake bank link or providing account information.
  5. CRA Tax Scam. The fraudster pretends to be with the CRA and demands money for unpaid taxes or will trick the recipient into sharing private information.

Given the sharp increase seen in fraudulent calls throughout Canada over the last few months, it is only expected that these scams will continue to grow – and new scams will develop. Always be sure to think twice and do your research before sending money to anyone over the phone.

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