Skip to main content

Fraud cases in Quebec up 15 per cent in two years


Nearly 37,000 Quebecers were victims of fraud in 2023, an increase of 15 per cent in two years, according to the Quebec Association of Police Directors (ADPQ).

The ADPQ invited the media to a press conference Wednesday morning at Quebec provincial police (SQ) headquarters to report 'a worrying increase' in fraud in Quebec.

Montreal, Montérégie and the Quebec City area are the regions where fraudsters have claimed the most victims.

However, Laval and Mauricie saw the biggest increase in fraud, at 20 per cent.

"The most frequent frauds in Quebec are those involving the fraudulent use of service cards, computers and identity theft" and "these categories include frauds involving false representatives, grandparent-type frauds and romance frauds," said Patrick Bélanger of ADPQ.

"Every time you use your credit card, every time you answer a phone call, every time you check your e-mail, you are potentially exposing yourself to increasingly sophisticated scams," added Bélanger, who is also Longueuil's police chief.

According to data compiled by ADPQ, 36,898 frauds were reported and listed by police services in Quebec in 2023, compared with 35,116 in 2022 and 32,032 in 2021.

Tip of the iceberg

But these figures "are very conservative," according to Bélanger, because "the data collection methodology may differ from one police department to another," but above all because "many victims prefer not to report, too often for fear of judgment or shame" or "because the sums stolen are not substantial."

The thousands of frauds reported each year are therefore, in his view, "just the tip of the iceberg."

Police are also noticing more and more frauds committed with the help of artificial intelligence.

"What's now happening is the voice is sometimes faked" and "artificial intelligence makes it possible to clone the voice of a grandson calling his grandparents to tell them he's in trouble and needs money," explained Bélanger.

He added that "police forces are putting a lot of effort" into trying to counter this new phenomenon.

$3 million since the start of the year

Over a three-month period in 2024, from Jan. 1 to March 31, Quebecers reported losses of nearly $3 million, compared with $123 million nationwide.

The ADPQ pointed out that even though romance scams are not among the most reported, the amounts lost by victims of this type of crime "are alarming."

In Quebec, 142 people have reported being victims of romance fraud since the beginning of 2024, and are said to have lost $800,000.

In Canada, there were 217 victims for the same period and reached $9.6 million in losses.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 17, 2024. Top Stories

Stay Connected