Scam it! The Growing Ocean of Digital Fraud and Theft.
By Brianna MacLean
Public Relations Associate at Pounce Support Services™

Last year, I wrote an article for this very newsletter about email scammers following my own experience with a cyberattack attempt. In the months that have followed, I have received more emails on a nearly daily basis from fake accounts pretending to be my employers, my bank, and even my own family and friends! It was during a conversation with Kat Mooney, Pounce Support Services™’ founder, and fearless leader, that I was reminded that this escalation in spam messages is not a situation unique to only me.

Image: Am email featuring a link to malicious webpage recevived by Kat Mooney

In a report released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, it was revealed by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre that victims of fraud and cybercrimes lost nearly $530 million in 2022, an unprecedented 40% increase from the $380 million in losses that were reported in 2021! Despite this exponential growth, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre still estimates that only 5-10% of Canadians report cases of fraud annually. The most common form of scamming attempt that more Canadians are encountering regularly is Phishing.

Like the practice that inspired its name, Phishing refers to the “fishing” being done by scammers. Primarily using financial requests and weblinks as their lures of choice, scammers will throw out as many lines as they can to better their chances of getting a bite; the bite, in this case, being someone’s private, personal information. Scammers will often create an artificial sense of urgency with their initial cast-out to trap their targets securely on the hook, eliminating the chance for their scheme to be questioned too thoroughly.

This method of scamming can be broken down into three categories:


  • Scamming attempts via emails.
  • The most common method of digital scamming, and one of the top three forms of fraud in the world!
  • Can include requests for money transfers, gift cards, or weblinks; When opened, the link will lead the intended target to a malicious webpage dedicated to harvesting personal information under the guise of a contact information update, or by offering malware cleverly disguised as a simple “software update” to download.



  • Scamming attempts via text messages and other messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.
  • While not yet as popular as Phishing, Smishing is steadily moving through the ranks as a scamming up-and-comer, primarily due to the ease at which Smishers can send several faceless messages.
  • Like in phishing, shared links to malicious web pages are the most common method used in these attacks.



  • Scamming attempts via phone calls and voice messages.
  • Your phone number can be acquired by scammers through a variety of legal and illegal means, such as data breaches or random number generators.
  • Vishers will commonly pose as banks, law enforcement (including border control), tech support, or other legitimate organizations to gain your trust.


All three methods are strategically designed to steal your money and/or your identity without you realizing quickly enough to put an end to the attack. From credit and bank card numbers, passwords, and personal information such as your address, nothing is off limits in cybercriminals fishing for a quick payday.

As the number of scamming attempts and methods continues to grow, so too does the number of people who are victimized. Chris Lynam, the RCMP‘s Director General of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and National Cybercrime Coordination Centre explains:

“As we see the amount of money lost to fraud continue to increase, our duty to protect each other grows more and more important. Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to victimize Canadians while also relying on the basic tricks too.”

When we avoid these difficult conversations, we are leaving the door wide open for scammers to continue casting lures for potential victims. By rejecting the feelings of shame and embarrassment that are typically associated with cases of fraud in favour of protecting each other, we are creating a school fish too large and too informed for these scammers to successfully hook and reel in.