Increasing phone scams a ‘game of numbers’ says anti-fraud analyst

File / Global News

Nervous about answering your phone because of a deluge of scam calls? You’re not alone.

According to a report by a Stockholm-based think tank, Canada is one of the countries most affected by the nuisance calls – finishing just outside the top 10 worst countries worldwide.

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The report, by the Truecaller organization, said the calls have increased 18 per cent worldwide, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says the improved sophistication of many scammers is concerning.

Jeff Thomson, a senior RCMP intelligence analyst with the centre, said that the pesky calls aren’t likely to stop any time soon.

“With the cell phone technology today… everybody has a phone in their hand, and the ways you can communicate around the world have just gotten easier, so it’s definitely a concern,” said Thomson.

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“It’s a game of numbers – the more people you reach, the more likely you are to get a victim.

“I always say there’s a fraud for anybody at any given point in time. We don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives, and different pressures may get you to react in different situations.”

READ MORE: Police warning of new slate of phone scams

According to the Truecaller report, Canadians are disproportionately targeted by fake debt collectors, with unwanted market research and political calls also happening frequently.

Thomson said education and awareness is key, as the scams are often international in scope, which complicates issues of law enforcement jurisdiction.

“It’s not about not answering your phone, but it’s recognizing the frauds today,” he said, “recognizing that the scammers are calling, trying to scam you… and that they’re text messaging you, that they’re emailing you.

“There’s a lot of stigmas associated with fraud. It’s more than just financial. There’s the emotional, psychological impacts that fraud can have on people.”

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Avoid being scammed during the holiday season – Dec 18, 2018

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