Quebecers are the most likely in Canada to get catfished — at least, according to a Techshielder study, they are. The cybersecurity blog compiled data on worldwide dating scam reports and found that Canada had the third-highest number of catfishing reports globally (1,054) in 2020, behind only Nigeria (1,129) and, in first place, the Philippines (1,315).
In Canada, Quebec topped the list with 376 dating scams reported in 2020, totalling $4.5 million in losses, according to Techshielder.
Quebec was followed by Ontario with 366 scams reported in 2020.
The RCMP and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) consistently warn Canadians to watch out for dating scams.
According to the CAFC, scammers usually operate by building online relationships with unsuspecting individuals using emails or fake profiles and then asking their victims to give or receive money, make an investment or join a business venture with them.
"In today's society, it's normal to meet and build a relationship online, especially during a pandemic," Lasse Walstad, Techshielder co-founder, said in a press release.
"If you are dating over the internet, looking for the one, it's important to be on your toes, so you can spot when something [is] amuck."
"They are people out there who will take advantage of those looking for love, thus before you fall for the whirlwind that is love or send any money, look out for any red flags. If it's too good to be true, then it usually is."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Officers have located the all-terrain vehicle thought to have been used by the suspect and said Wednesday night that he and 3-year-old Jake could now be travelling on foot or in a different vehicle.
The SQ also said Wednesday that the suspect is potentially armed. They've implored the public to report any sightings or suspicious activity by dialling 9-1-1 and to avoid the sector of Sainte-Paule, Quebec, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent to avoid inadvertently impeding the search.
An updated physical description of the child was also released early Thursday morning.
Police believe the child is wearing a "blue T-shirt with silver stripes on the sleeves and the bottom with an inscription of the number 6 or 9 in a blue camo pattern," dark blue jeans and beige boots.
"We are asking people to focus on the physical and clothing descriptions of the persons being sought," the provincial police force said on Twitter.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized "approximately 112.5 kg of suspected cocaine" from a truck they say was driven by a Quebec resident as he entered Canada from the United States at Fort Erie, Ontario.
According to a press release, "the CBSA arrested Pardeep Singh, and transferred him and the suspected cocaine under the custody of RCMP officers" following the discovery on June 15.
The 24-year-old LaSalle resident was charged with "Importation of a controlled substance, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act."
The CBSA estimated that the street value of the apparent cocaine was $14 million.
"This large drug seizure and the investigation that ensued resulting in an individual being charged is another example of the RCMP and the CBSA working together to protect our communities by preventing illegal drugs from reaching our streets," Superintendent Shawn Boudreau, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Border Integrity Program, O Division, said.
The RCMP also reports it seized "249 prohibited magazines, with a capacity of 15 rounds each."
Rainville appeared in court over the weekend and is facing numerous charges, which police say include "importing restricted firearms, possession of prohibited weapons, possession of prohibited devices, and possession of firearms for the purpose of trafficking."
"Other charges may follow after the evidence is analyzed," the RCMP says.
The CAFC told MTL Blog that between September 2020 — prior to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Canada — and January 2021, it received reports of fraud calls offering "vaccine kits," "vaccine sign-up links" and scam-artists posing as the World Health Organization.
One September 2020 report of an unsolicited email offering gloves, test kits and vaccines
One December 2020 report of an unsolicited call offering a home vaccination kit for an up-front fee
One January 2021 report of an unsolicited email asking people to click links to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine
One January 2021 report of an unsolicited call claiming to be World Health Organization and asking individuals to register for their vaccine shot, but claiming individuals needed to buy gift cards to secure their spot.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and conducted by your provincial immunization program.
If you're being contacted online or by phone and being asked to pay for your vaccine, it's not real.
Due to public health rules, Canadians are relying on #OnlineShopping more than ever. This puts us at greater risk o… https://t.co/UoYJt8qHgm
— Competition Bureau Canada (@Competition Bureau Canada)
A new survey by Interac Canada shows that more than half of Canadians believe there's a greater risk of fraud in general — not just related to vaccines — during the pandemic due to increased online activities, such as online banking, online shopping and access to government services.
Most notably, 58% of respondents said the pandemic has increased stress levels with regard to fraud in Canada and 55% of Canadians surveyed worried increased isolation is making the population more susceptible to fraud.
Nearly six in 10 survey respondents — or 57% — reported seeing increased fraud attempts during the pandemic year.
According to Interac Canada, the virtual nature of COVID-19 is making young Canadians more aware of fraud and more "scam savvy."
Survey results showed that Gen Z adults are the most likely to report that they themselves or someone close to them had fallen victim to fraud during the pandemic year, at 52%.
In contrast, only 30% of seniors aged 65 and over reported that they or someone close to them had fallen victim to fraud during the pandemic year.
You can report any fraud or scams you experience to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online.