Canadians lost 40 per cent more money in 2022 than in 2021 to fraud and cybercrime, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). And police in Estevan continue to deal with rapidly-increasing numbers of scam complaints.

The CAFC received fraud and cybercrime reports of $530 million in victim losses in 2022, nearly a 40-per-cent jump from what they called an "unprecedented" loss total of $380 million in 2021.

The Estevan Police Service reported Wednesday morning a complaint of a service-invoice scam. In this case, the target called the sender, who was aggressive on the phone, but did not surrender any information.

Const. Danielle Stephany said the number of reported scams that come across their desks "dramatically has increased." She said they typically are alerted to at least one per day.

"It's always nice for people to report the scams to us because we try to advise the public of new ones that come out. So even if you don't partake in the scam, it never hurts to just call our office and notify us. And if we see that it's a new trend, we'll usually send out a media release."

Stephany said scams posing as the Canada Revenue Agency often make their rounds at this time of year, trying to capitalize on tax season.

With the invoice scam, she said people are under no obligation to contact the sender.

"Sometimes it's a good approach to just delete the e-mail and block the sender as responding to these emails sometimes opens up more opportunity to become a victim of a scam or abuse."

Stephany provided the following tips to avoid falling victim to scams:

  • never give out passwords, pin numbers, or any banking details;
  • consider using your own data instead of wifi "as sometimes hotspots are not secure";
  • regularly check your bank statements to ensure your credit card hasn't been compromised;
  • and watch for people asking for an e-transfer deposit to hold items on Facebook garage sale sites: "if you're not sure of the purchaser, you may have just given away money and there's actually no product to receive".

"The biggest thing is if you're not 100-per-cent sure, do some inquiries before you commit to anything, or phone your financial institution," said Stephany. "They're really good at staying on top of scams. Phone your local police agency. There are always anti-fraud sites that you can [check] as well."