New Brunswickers lost $1.1 million to frauds and scams in 2018
New Brunswickers reported losing $1.1 million to frauds and scams in 2018, with identity fraud, romance scams, and job scams having the biggest financial impact. This is according to the numbers reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, although the number of reports they received decreased from the previous year.
“In 2017, New Brunswickers reported losing $1.4 million to frauds and scams,” said Rick Hancox, CEO of FCNB. “While this year’s report seems like an encouraging decrease in money lost to fraud, we know that many aren’t reporting being victimized so the actual amount lost is likely higher. Every dollar lost to a fraud or scam is one dollar too high.”
According to the 2017 Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Investor Index for New Brunswick, seven-in-10 New Brunswickers who were approached by investment fraud did not report it. One reason people don’t report is that they were too embarrassed to report the crime when it happened. However, reporting the fraud to the appropriate authorities can help raise awareness and prevent others in the community from being victimized.
“The red flags of fraud are common across all different types of scams,” continued Hancox. “The more people can recognize them, think critically and be vigilant, the fewer victims will suffer from the devastating consequences of fraud.”
Here were the top frauds in 2018 based on data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:
Total New Brunswick complaints: 102
Total New Brunswick victims: 100
Reported loss: $203,946
How it works: A fraudster uses your personal information to carry out fraud by obtaining credit in your name. You may be a victim if a creditor informs you it received your credit application, but you did not apply. Another red flag is if a collection agency informs you that they are collecting for a defaulted account in your name, but you never opened the account.
Unusual activity on your credit report: the scammer may use your identity to obtain a loan from a financial institution, which would reflect on your credit report.
Total New Brunswick complaints: 20
Total New Brunswick victims: 18
Reported loss: $353,361
How it works: Fraudsters create fake profiles on social media and online dating websites to lure potential victims into online relationships. Once they gain the victim’s trust, the fraudster begins making financial requests.
No face-to-face contact: romance scammers will often ask the victim for money to make travel arrangements to meet in person, but will come up with a reason they can’t come after all. As soon as the victim’s money is gone, so are they.
Total New Brunswick complaints: 17
Total New Brunswick victims: 5
Reported loss: $208,643
How it works: Typically, the fraudulent job will be posted online for applicants to respond to. In some cases, an interview will take place, and the “successful candidate” will be asked to send a company cheque through their personal bank account as part of their initial job duties. The cheque may look real, but it is actually a fake. Since it can take up to a week for the bank to determine if a cheque is counterfeit, the person is out potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Too good to be true: The opportunity is promoted as a way to get rich quickly, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications or experience.
- Paying to work: The job requires you to spend your own money to pay start-up costs.
- Accessing bank accounts: The job requires the employee to send or receive company money through their personal bank account.
“Reporting fraud to the appropriate authorities can help your family and community by making people aware of scams that are targeting them and the red flags that go with them,” said Hancox. “We can help New Brunswickers learn to spot the red flags and protect themselves from being victimized. The red flags of fraud are common across all scams, no matter how the scam artist approaches you.”
Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. firstname.lastname@example.org
FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.