Fraud Prevention Month: Stay Alert on Top Fraudster Tactics

With this year marking the 20th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is highlighting the importance of protecting the public from fraud. This year’s theme, “20 years of fighting fraud: From then to now” provides an overview of the main solicitation methods and how they have evolved over the years.

Read below for the top solicitation methods by fraudsters to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected.


Based on the number of reports received in 2023, telephone was the top solicitation method used by fraudsters. Over the last 20 years, technology related to fraudulent telephone calls has evolved. Fraudsters are now able to spoof phone numbers, automate calls and make “robo” calls. The evolution in technology has given fraudsters the ability to target many more Canadians over the last number of years. Fraudsters will commonly claim to be loved ones, law enforcement, financial institutions, or government agencies.

Cyber-Enabled Fraud (Email, Internet, Social Media, and Text Message)

With more than 75% of reported losses associated to cyber-enabled fraud in 2023, the CAFC emphasizes how the cyber environment has changed over the last 20 years and how this has affected fraud.

Fraudsters have added social media platforms as one of their main tools to target victims. Whether they’re using fraudulent ads, compromised social media accounts, or social media bots to collect personal information, fraudsters have taken advantage of social media to target Canadians.

Though electronic mail fraud existed 20 years ago, fraudsters today have taken advantage of new technology at their disposal allowing them to make fraudulent emails more convincing. Email address spoofing in phishing and infiltrating networks before a spear phishing attack have added complexity to email fraud.


While regular post mail fraud has decreased substantially over the last 20 years, the CAFC continues to receive reports of fraud initiated by mail. Fraudulent mail can come in the form of a fake inheritance letter claiming that you are entitled to a large sum of money because a distant relative has died. Fraudsters also send fraudulent prize letters claiming you’ve won the “big prize.” Once you call the phone number in the letter, fraudsters will ask for payments to cover fees or insurance.

Door to Door/In Person

Fraud initiated in person is very similar to what it looked like 20 years ago. Fraudsters might offer a service with little to no value or ask you to sign a contract for equipment that doesn’t work properly. Fraudulent contractors might offer home improvement services such as roofing, driveway paving, or landscaping at a low price. Door-to-door fraudsters commonly use high-pressure sales tactics. Once payment, deposit, or prepayment is received, they disappear or provide a service of poor quality.

Warning signs and how to protect yourself

  • Criminals use call-spoofing to mislead victims. Don’t assume that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate.
  • If you receive a suspicious or odd message from a trusted friend, contact them through a different means of communication to confirm that it’s actually them.
  • If you get an unsolicited email or text asking you to click a link or open an attachment – don’t do it!
  • If contacted by a company, don’t use the contact information provided in the message. Look up the legitimate contact information elsewhere and contact it directly.
  • Use reputable service providers located in your area.
  • Locate and verify the service provider’s contact information –address, phone number, email—before paying for the service.
  • Be wary of letters offering you an inheritance. These letters will often claim to come from lawyers or accountants.
  • If you receive a letter claiming you’ve won a free prize, know that you are not required to pay upfront fees to collect winnings.
  • Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of cybercrime or fraud report it to your local police and to the CAFC’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway.

We encourage you to share this article with your network to help spread anti-fraud awareness!

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