COTTAGE COUNTRY, ON – It can be embarrassing to admit when someone gets scammed, but police are asking anyone who thinks they have been duped to report it.

According to a release from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimated residents across the country have been scammed out of over $43 million in 2019.

Police believe the number will continue to rise and is appealing to the public to report any potential scams.

Officers said criminals are continuing to use traditional frauds such as phishing along with service and romance scams to extort money from their victims.

“Victims experience emotional impact and personal embarrassment and are not as likely to report the crime when they have fallen victim to a scam or fraud,” the release said. “For example, the romance scam, one of the most under-reported scams, caused 776 victims to lose $23 million last year.”

Officers added the actual number of victims is likely higher as they estimate 95 per cent of those crimes go unreported.

The OPP suggest the following if you have fallen victim to a scam:

  • Stay calm and contact local police
  • Stop all communication with the scammer
  • Gather all records and correspondence
  • Notify financial institutions that accounts may be affected
  • Change passwords to accounts, including social media
  • Update computer security software

Police said it is still important to report the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre¬†even if the victim didn’t lose any money.

Officers added the reports help them investigate and identify current types of scams.

Anyone looking for more information on how to identify and avoid fraud can check out Get Cyber Safe’s website.