The Changing Face of Fraud in Canada
Throughout human history, people have attempted to dupe others. But the forgers and snake oil salesmen of yesteryear would be gobsmacked by the sophistication of 21st-century scams. The Internet has changed the face of fraud.
Canadians lost more than $70 million to con artists in 2014. (That figure accounts only for reported cases, which may represent fewer than five per cent of all incidents.) And increasingly, those dollars are disappearing online. According to a list of the most common frauds put together in 2015 by the Better Business Bureau, nine of the top 10 offenders were Internet-related. “These scams are easy to set up,” says bureau rep Evan Kelly. “They cost no money and take no time.”
Like phony paintings and quack cure-alls, modern cons are most effective when they appear to be official. But there are ways for you to see through even the slickest scams. “We have our work cut out for us,” Kelly explains. “We can’t take it at face value that these things are legitimate just because they look spiffy on our computer screens.”