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Escape room at Metrotown teaching people how to avoid scams, prevent fraud

The Canada Revenue Agency's 'Be Scam-Smart Escape Room' at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre,challenges and educates participants on the various scams criminals use to defraud Canadians. Ottawa, Ont. March 22, 2024. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News). The Canada Revenue Agency's 'Be Scam-Smart Escape Room' at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre,challenges and educates participants on the various scams criminals use to defraud Canadians. Ottawa, Ont. March 22, 2024. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News).
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When you get a text or a call these days – it can be hard sometimes to know whether the communication is legitimate or not.

So the Canada Revenue Agency has set up what it calls the ‘Be Scam Smart Escape Room’ at Metrotown Mall.

Those who enter the room encounter three scenarios – and have to decide whether the government communication they’re encountering is real or fake.

“Scams can happen at any point, at any part of your life, and this is a great example where people can actually see real life scams come to life, and what they should do if they encounter one, and how to avoid them,” Lisa Ko, a CRA spokesperson told CTV News Thursday.

And Ko says the scams people encounter in the escape room aren’t easy to navigate.

“I actually did the escape room myself. I thought I would get 100 per cent and I would be perfectly free of all scams, but I didn’t do so great either in the escape room. So, what that shows is that even a CRA employee who is very aware of scams, educated about what scams look like – even I could fall susceptible.”

The escape room has been travelling across the country and its last day is this Sunday at Metrotown mall.

According to the government, the amount lost to reported fraud more than quadrupled from $102.5 million in 2019 to $451.3 million last year. The actual amount lost to fraud is suspected to be much higher, as many people are believed not to report fraud due to shame and embarrassment.

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