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Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Bulletin: Financial Literacy month: Fraud Awareness

The number ten on a digital screen.

So far in 2020 the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received more than 40,000 fraud reports from Canadians, involving more than 19,000 victims with reported losses in excess of $67 million.

November is Financial Literacy Month and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre wants to help Canadians be fraud aware. This bulletin was prepared to highlight the Top 10 frauds, based on data from January 1st to August 31st, 2020, and to provide prevention tips to help Canadians avoid fraud.

Top 10 frauds ranked by number of reports:

Pitch Reports Victims Dollar Loss
Extortion 13,015 5,149 $7.6 Million
Personal Info 4799 3,142 N/A
Phishing 2,945 934 N/A
Merchandise 2,334 1,902 $6.9 Million
Job 1,520 697 $1.8 Million
Sale of merchandise by complainant 1,472 891 $2.9 Million
Service 1,297 806 $1.9 Million
Spear Phishing 663 327 $5 Million
Romance 585 414 $11.6 Million
Emergency (Jail, Accident, Hospital, Help) 565 192 $680 Thousand

Top 10 frauds ranked by dollar loss:

Pitch Reports Victims Dollar Loss
Romance 585 414 $11.6 Million


251 $9.2 Million
Extortion 13,015 5,149 $7.6 Million
Merchandise 2,334 1,902 $6.9 Million
Spear Phishing 663 327 $5.0 Million
Sale of merchandise by complainant 1,472 891 $3.0 Million
Prize 533 166 $2.9 Million
Service 1,297 806 $1.9 Million
Job 1,520 697 $1.8 Million
Bank Investigator 492 199 $1.5 Million

Note: It is estimated that less than 5% of fraud victims report their occurrences to the CAFC.

How to protect yourself

  • Do not trust the information on your call display because it can easily be manipulated.
  • Do not provide your personal or financial information on demand.
  • Do not open an attachment or click a link in an unsolicited email or text message.
  • Create a unique and complicated password for each of your accounts.
  • Setup multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for someone else to access your accounts.
  • Update the privacy settings attached to your social network accounts.
  • Be familiar with the terms of service and how payment methods work before using them.
  • Never, under any circumstances, accept money and send money to a third party. You may, unknowingly, be participating in money laundering which is a criminal offence.
  • Avoid reacting automatically. #Take5 minutes to ask additional questions and listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, ask someone else about it.
  • Remain current on frauds and protect others by sharing what you know. #Tell2 and ask them to do the same. An unbroken chain of 26 Tell2’ers would cover the entire population of Canada.
  • Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at