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Canada warns of text message scams

According to Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre, these scams have led to the theft of 6.5 million Canadian dollars in the first quarter of 2023

Antifraud action - June 19, 2023

At the end of May 2023, Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) warned of a sharp increase in text message scams. In the first quarter of 2023, the CAFC received 1,721 reports of text message scams from 463 victims for total damages of 6.5 million Canadian dollars (4.5 million euro). Over the whole of 2022, the stolen sums amounted only to 13 million Canadian dollars (9 million euro).

Investment scams made up half of the theft. The CAFC reported an increase in scams attempting to empty out victims’ bank accounts, rather than skim small sums off the top at regular intervals.

Authorities also warned of an increase in scams starting with harmless, even friendly messages, in an attempt to gain the victim’s trust. In this case, the criminal waits a few days before asking for money, in an investment or romance scam, depending on the type of bond he establishes with the victim.

The CAFC estimates that every Canadian receives a phishing text a day on average. The center reminds us of two basic tips to not fall prey to phishing:

  • refrain from answering unsolicited text messages and emails on social media or your smartphone;
  • never click on a link or open an attachment from an unsolicited message (or from someone you’ve never met).
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