This post “Stop Fraud” was prompted by a couple of incidents that happened to me recently.
I was having some website issues which somehow seemed to leave me vulnerable to pop-ups. When I signed in to my bank account, there was a pop-up, very professional with the Bank’s logo, asking me to complete a customer service survey. I decided to go ahead and complete the survey – I was then given a choice of FREE products, all I had to do was pay shipping and handling. For that they needed my credit card information, which of course I wasn’t prepared to give them.
That was as far as I went with the survey but I did call the bank’s Head Office to report this, changed my passwords and did a deep virus and malware scan.
The second scam was one we’ve all heard about but this is the first time I actually experienced it. I received an email from someone who had money to invest in our country and wanted to partner with me. I don’t know what the rest of the email said because as soon as I saw that the email was deleted. It should actually have been forwarded to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre but I wasn’t thinking, I just wanted to get rid of it.
The third scam happened a while back via my phone. I received a text message that I had won a $1,000.00 Walmart gift card. The Red Flag here was that I had never entered a contest so failed to see how I could win. I did call our local Walmart to inform them and they were already aware of this scam going on.
Seeing as the scammers are out in force I decided it was time to renew the scam alerts. The only way we’re going to stop fraud is to recognize it and be aware of the latest scams. Scammers approach in different ways: by phone, pop-ups, email, snail mail or door-to-door. There are two things they want – access to your money and/or to your personal information, including your social insurance number. If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, before giving out any information, call one of the numbers at the end of this post to verify the person/business’ identity and legitimacy.
From the Competition Bureau:
“Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:
- developing professional-looking marketing materials;
- providing believable answers for your tough questions;
- impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes;
- pretending to be your ordinary supplier;
- hiding the true details in the fine print;
- preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment;
- asking for fees in advance of promised services;
- threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts;
- falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services;
- and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.”
The most popular scam right now has scammers calling by phone impersonating Revenue Canada/Internal Revenue agents. They may tell you that you are getting a refund (of a large amount), all they need is some personal information and your bank account number in order to process it, or, on the flip side, that you owe them a lot of money and you need to pay right now. They may tell you a warrant for your arrest is being prepared as they speak and will be activated immediately if you fail to pay.
They may give you a phone number or website to ‘confirm’ but ignore that – it just cycles back to them. If you really want to confirm you can call any of the numbers at the end of this post, NEVER use the number or website they provide.
Even if you’re not Canadian it’s well worth reading “Don’t Get Scammed” published by the Canadian Revenue Agency – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/scmhndt-eng.pdf
There are many scams operating at any one time, too many to list here, but most are listed in a great resource – a booklet called “The Little Black Book of Scams – Your Guide To Protection Against Fraud”. It’s free and loaded with information that has universal application. It’s downloadable as a PDF file and I encourage everyone to either download it or at least view it.
CONTENTS Include information about the following scams:
- Lotteries, sweepstakes and contests
- Pyramid schemes
- Money transfer requests
- Internet scams
- Mobile phone scams
- Health and medical scams
- Emergency scams
- Dating and romance scams
- Charity scams
- Job and employment scams
- Small business scams
- Service scams
- Handy hints to protect yourself
- Scams and you: What to do if you get scammed!
- Getting help and reporting a scam
GOLDEN RULES – Knowing and remembering the following golden rules will help you beat the scammers and stop fraud.
- Always get independent advice if an offer involves money, personal information, time or commitment. Don’t let anyone push you into accepting ‘You must act now”. (As a matter of fact, those words are usually a red flag and should be enough to stop you right there.)
- There are no guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes— the only people who make money are the scammers.
- Do not agree to offers or deals right away. If you think you have spotted a great opportunity, insist on time to get independent advice before making a decision.
- Do not hand over money or personal information, or sign anything until you have done your homework and checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with.
- Do not rely on glowing testimonials: find solid evidence of a company’s success.
- Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
- Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
Embarrassment at being caught in a scam sometimes stops people from notifying the authorities. Don’t let that happen to you. Thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. If you spot a scam or have been scammed, don’t hesitate to call to report it and/or get help.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501,
The Competition Bureau 1-800-348-5358
Canadian Revenue Agency 1-800-959-8281 www.cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention
The Better Business Bureau or Your local Police Service.
Federal Trade Comm (202)326-2222 https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
FBI – (no phone # provided) https://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud
Internal Revenue Service – Fraud Hotline 1-800-829-0433 or https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/How-Do-You-Report-Suspected-Tax-Fraud-Activity%3F
The Better Business Bureau or Your Local Police Service.
Scammers are imaginative and manipulative. They know how to push your buttons to produce the response they want. The only way to stop fraud is for you to be alert, giving them no opportunity to push your buttons.
Talk to you again next week,
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