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Incidents of fraud being reported to the police continue to surge, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The latest national data on crime shows that reports of alleged fraud, including identity theft and identity fraud, rose for the eighth straight year in 2019.

StatsCan said that there were almost 166,500 incidents of alleged fraud reported to police in 2019, up 10% from the previous year. Fraud reports are up 64% over the past 10 years, StatsCan said.

“For the second year in a row, the high volume of fraud offences made it the primary driver behind the increase in the national [Crime Severity Index (CSI)],” StatsCan reported.

Overall, the CSI — which measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime — rose by 5% from the prior year, marking the fifth consecutive annual increase.

“According to some police services, increases in the reporting of fraud were connected to greater use and availability of online options for reporting fraud,” StatsCan said.

StatsCan also noted that the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC) estimated that over $98 million was lost due to fraud in 2019.

While the data pre-dates the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, StatsCan said that initial reporting from a selection of police services found that there were 16% fewer criminal incidents from March to June, compared with the same months in 2019.

At the same time, calls to police for service were up 7% over the same period — particularly calls for wellness checks and for domestic disturbances, StatsCan said.