Email and Text Messaging Scams

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has documented
an increase in fraud and cybercrime attacks launched by email and text messages. While some of these
attacks were Coronavirus themed, CERB-related and, more recently, COVID-19 vaccination themed;
many of them had the same intention: to trick you into opening malicious attachments or to trick you
into revealing sensitive personal and financial details.

In addition to COVID-19 themed messages, the CAFC has also documented a general increase in phishing
scams, extortion demands requesting bitcoin payments, job scams, merchandise scams and more
targeted attacks such as spear phishing.

During Fraud Prevention Month, the CAFC would like to remind you to be vigilant with unsolicited text
messages and emails. This bulletin was prepared to highlight the Top 5 Email Scams and prevention tips.

2020 Top 5 Email & Text Message Scams

Fraud TypeReportsVictimsLosses (CAD)
Extortion 3,9281,772$ 0.2 M
Job1,403539$ 0.9 M
Spear Phishing939456$11.7 M
Merchandise670347$1.4 M
Note: It is estimated that less than 5% of fraud victims report their occurrences to the CAFC.

Top Tips to Protect Yourself

  • Remain current on frauds targeting business and educate all employees. Include fraud training as part of new employee onboarding.
  • Have detailed payment procedures. Encourage a verification process for unusual email requests.
  • Avoid opening unsolicited emails or clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
  • Take a few seconds to hover over an email address or link and confirm that they are correct.
  • Back up your system/data regularly and keep the backups on a separate removable hard drive. When done, don’t forget to disconnect. If possible, check the backup(s) from a separate computer that uses a different operating system.
  • Take the time to research an employer and confirm that they are hiring.
  • Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.
  • Remain current on frauds and protect others by sharing what you know. #Tell2 others and ask them to do the same. An unbroken chain of 25 people telling two would cover the entire population of Canada.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian AntiFraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at

Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Bulletin