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Scam phone calls down but spam calls on the rise in B.C., poll finds

A new poll has found fewer British Columbians are getting scam calls, but the number of unsolicited "spam" calls is on the rise.
A new poll has found fewer British Columbians are getting scam calls, but the number of unsolicited "spam" calls is on the rise. File / Getty Images

The number of scam phone calls British Columbians are receiving has fallen in recent years, but they’re still being bombarded with spam, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by Vancouver-based Research Co., found 42 per cent of respondents had recieved a scam call from someone claiming to be part of a government agency like the Canada Revenue Agency in the past two months.

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Cracking down on scam calls'
Consumer Matters: Cracking down on scam calls

That’s down eight points from 50 per cent in 2021.

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People in the Fraser Valley were the most likely to get the scam calls (50 per cent), followed by Vancouver Island (44 per cent), Northern B.C. (42 per cent), Metro Vancouver (41 per cent) and Southern B.C. (34 per cent).

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But while scam calls were down, a particular type of spam call — unsolicited calls or messages from someone speaking Cantonese or Mandarin — were up by eight points over 2021.

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: B.C. senior caught in sophisticated phone scam'
Consumer Matters: B.C. senior caught in sophisticated phone scam

The survey found nearly three in five respondents (59 per cent) said they’d received calls of this type in the last two months.

Those calls were most prevalent in Metro Vancouver, where 69 per cent of people polled had received one.

The poll was conducted online between Dec. 8 and Dec. 10, 2023, among 800 adults in British Columbia, with data weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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