DELTA has seen a 15 per cent increase in cybercrime incidents in 2020 from January to the end of September, compared to the same time frame last year. Unfortunately, this builds on an existing trend, where the number of files in 2019 more than doubled from the previous year in 2018, Delta Police said on Friday.
Police are highlighting this offence, as October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
“The majority of cybercrimes that are reported to us are frauds,” said Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “This includes phishing emails (where people are searching for personal or financial information), Craigslist ads, and funds being diverted to a third party.”
There’s also been significant growth in harassing communication, typically from an ex-partner, or someone known to the complainant. The other area that Delta Police have seen an increase is that of uttering threats.
“These are threats that are primarily being made on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook,” said Leykauf. “The offence of ‘uttering threats’ is taken seriously by police, as it impacts people’s sense of safety, and is considered a person’s or a more serious offence.” Delta Police saw a large increase in complaints of uttering threats in 2019.
Delta is not alone in seeing increases in cybercrime. Across Canada phishing attempts doubled between 2018 and 2019. With more business and shopping being conducted online, police are expecting to see ongoing increases in cybercrime.
The social isolation brought on by the pandemic also has police highlighting another type of cybercrime, namely dating frauds and extortion in relation to intimate photos and videos. Romance fraud was Canada’s top scam in 2019, in terms of reported money lost, averaging $28,000 per victim. Police advise anyone who has met someone online, to always be suspicious of requests for money, even if someone insists it is an emergency situation.
Education is the best way to protect against cybercrimes. Read more at these Government of Canada links on cybersecurity: