Fraud losses in Sask. has nearly doubled to $9.3 million in 2022, data shows

The amount of money lost to fraud in Saskatchewan nearly doubled in 2022, according to data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  (CBC - photo credit)

The amount of money lost to fraud in Saskatchewan nearly doubled in 2022, according to data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. (CBC – photo credit)

Raiza Ocampo has been scammed.

She sold diapers she didn’t need through Facebook Marketplace. A mother with young children wanted to buy it and sent the $18 owed to her via e-transfer.

Ocampo, a Regina resident, received an email about the wire transfer, but the money never reached her account.

“When I tried to message her, she blocked me,” she said.

A screenshot of the email showed Interac logos, a reference number, and links to various social media, which Ocampo said worked when clicked. However, the word “deposited” was misspelled in the subject line, with an additional “d” at the end.

Submitted by Raiza Ocampo

Submitted by Raiza Ocampo

“Oh, they talk about that,” Ocampo recalled thinking at the time.

“I felt like a victim.”

Fraud and scams have resulted in big wins across Canada over the past year and marked another record year in terms of lost money victims, according to data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

In total, more than $529 million was taken from about 37,000 people nationwide last year, data shows. Ontario was the hardest-hit province, with some 11,110 people losing more than $213 million.

In Saskatchewan, money lost nearly doubled in 2022 from the year before, despite a relatively small increase in the number of victims, data shows.

Last year, more than $9.3 million was taken from 790 victims in the province, compared with $4.8 million taken from 643 people in 2021.

Sask. Fraud victims lost sixth most money in Canada in 2022

About a third of Saskatchewan’s victims last year were elderly. More than a third of the money lost — about $3.3 million — was taken from seniors, data shows.

“It’s a bit scary to see how significant the numbers are in the provinces, especially for Saskatchewan,” said Natalia Stakhova, associate professor of computer science at the University of Saskatchewan.

Scams are easy to pull off because of technology, and people might turn to scams during tough economic times, Stakhova said, so she’s not surprised more money was taken.

But the numbers suggest there is a lack of awareness of these systems, she added.

Investing scams — solicitations to invest in bogus opportunities like cryptocurrency or Ponzi schemes — were the most lucrative in Saskatchewan last year, raking in more than $2.9 million from 65 people, data shows.



However, personal data fraud affected most people.

This is someone who poses as a representative of a corporation and urgently requests personal information such as name, address, account information or social security number. If provided, the fraudster can use them for identity fraud, according to the Fraud Prevention Center website.

Data shows that no money was lost to this type of scam in the past year, but 121 Saskatchewan residents fell victim to them.

Data shows that there were 292 cases of identity fraud in Saskatchewan last year.

Only about five to 10 percent of people report fraud to the Canada Fraud Prevention Center, so the data likely only gives a glimpse of the true impact of this crime, said Jeff Horncastle, the center’s acting client and communications officer.

“It’s scary,” said Horncastle. “It just goes to show how much work we all have to put in trying to educate each other.”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) also takes complaints about unsolicited calls.

Last year, about 39,900 complaints were received from across Canada, including 511 from Saskatchewan residents. The CRTC was able to link nearly two-thirds of the calls from Saskatchewan to a known fraud or telemarketing campaign, according to a spokesman.

Most of the calls from Saskatchewan, they said, involved scams involving impersonators of a bank, corporation, or government agency; so-called Google listing scams targeting small businesses; cryptocurrency investments; and phone calls in Mandarin targeting the Asian community.

Call volume from Saskatchewan is lower compared to other provinces because the province is not affected by large telemarketing campaigns selling goods and services like sewer cleaning, the spokesman said.

Horncastle encourages people to educate themselves and others.

Ocampo, meanwhile, is still selling things through Facebook Marketplace — as she’s been doing for years.

But now her watch is up.


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