Richmond RCMP is reminding the public that "fraud can happen to anyone."
In a fraud alert, the police said it believes "the true number of incidents is largely under-reported," and the "sheer number of scams keeps increasing every year."
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, more than 75,000 reports of fraud have been made across Canada as of Oct. 31, 2022, with almost 48,000 victims. $420.8 million has been lost to fraud so far.
"The best information we can suggest is preventative," said Cpl. Dennis Hwang, Richmond RCMP spokesperson. He also suggested the public ask for a second opinion if they are ever unsure of something.
"If a deal seems too good to be true, it is likely a scam. If you are sent strange links to your phone or email, don’t click them without reviewing where it has originated from. Try and do as much homework as you can about something you are planning to purchase or rent.
"Lastly, law enforcement or authorities will never ask for payment to avoid an investigation."
Police are recommending people do the following to protect themselves against fraud and scams:
- Your identity is unique. Keep it safe. This means your banking info, personal info, credit information, and so on. If you lose any of your identity documents, swiftly cancel them and obtain new documents.
- Regularly check banking or credit card transactions to make certain that nothing is out of the ordinary.
- Make your passwords for any of your accounts or apps more secure or better yet, use a password manager and enable two-factor authentication or hardware key authentication.
- If anyone contacts you, do not reveal any specific details of your identification.
- If an organization or an individual requests money in the form of Bitcoin or a gift card, this is a tell-tale sign of something amiss.
Hwang added that seniors are "particularly vulnerable" to scams.
"The Richmond RCMP Crime Prevention Unit has an outreach program available for local seniors or community groups," he said. More information on the program can be found by contacting the Crime Prevention Unit at 604-278-1212.
A list of examples of scams and frauds, and how to handle them, can be found on the BCRCMP website, and updated information on frauds and scams in Canada can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre's website.