FREDERICTON -- New Brunswickers lost at least $3.5 million to fraud over the past three years according to the province's Financial and Consumer Services Commission.

That amount is what was reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, however research indicates that only about five per cent of frauds are actually reported.

According to the centre, over the past year, extortion scams have become prevalent in New Brunswick.

Sara Wilson, acting director of education and communications for the commission, says even though frauds and scams are changing all the time, the red flags of fraud are consistent.

She says they include an offer sounding too good to be true, a threat that if you don't act immediately you will be arrested or prosecuted and a request that you pay for something in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrencies.

The commission says recognizing the red flags of fraud is the best defence, and it will be promoting awareness during fraud prevention month in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2020.