Scammers targeting Manitobans more frequently and with more sophistication, RCMP say – Winnipeg

The holiday season is a prime time for scammers of various types, but according to Manitoba RCMP, reports of fraudulent activity have been going up across the board in Manitoba over the past few years.

Sgt. Paul Manaigre told 680 CJOB’s The Start that in 2017, police saw 719 reports of scams — a number that almost tripled by 2021, up to 2,142.

Those numbers, Maniagre said, are likely not even giving a full accounting of the amount of fraud going on out there — but at least some incidents are being reported, giving police a chance to put a stop to scams.

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“A lot of people are embarrassed, so I imagine the numbers we have — I’m sure it’s not painting a true picture of the amount of fraud that’s going on out there,” he said.

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“The important thing is, people here are reporting it, so we’re able to keep track of the trends — is it crypto? Is it a romance scam? All of those types.

“The idea is hopefully to try to educate people on what to look for and how to prepare to do some type of transaction which you might think is legitimate, but is not.”

Click to play video: 'Holiday shopping scams'

Holiday shopping scams

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Manitoba isn’t the only province dealing with scams — according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, more than $420 million was lost to fraud this year, up significantly from 383 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity expert Paul Davis says the scammers are getting smarter in who they target and when, and that they’re often successful because people are curious by nature, and enough of them will, for example, click on a link they shouldn’t.

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“It’s very well scripted — they know exactly what they’re doing at what time of the year and depending on the situation,” Davis said.

“Here’s my golden rule: when you ever receive a text message, an email … do not click on those links. A lot of people don’t believe this, but your phones can get viruses now, or spyware.”

Davis told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that links coming via text, email or social media may look legit, but if they’re referencing financial transactions or purchases you’ve made, you should instead go directly to your account and look up the information that way.

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“We go from our emotions to our fingertips — they trigger something which could potentially have happened, and then we’re curious to find out what it’s about,” he said.

“If we avoid that, we’re going to be much better off. Avoid the temptation of clicking.”

Click to play video: 'Grandparent scam upswing prompts Winnipeg police investigation'

Grandparent scam upswing prompts Winnipeg police investigation

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