How to protect yourself from fraud
March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and this is a time to get educated on the impact of fraud in Canada and how to protect yourself from it. As of February 2020, it is reported on the Government of Canada website that 7,804 cases of fraud have been reported in our country this year so far, resulting in $9.2 million in losses. That is in a mere two months.
Take your time with decisions
One of the common ways scammers take advantage of people is to hook them into high-pressure sales situations or play upon your emotions with deals. It’s always best to practice saying “no”, or at least take the time to get something in writing that can be reviewed in greater detail.
Always be wary of anything that requires upfront fees!
Do your research
You can verify the legitimacy of an organization or business by:
- Check charities through CRA
- Check collection agencies through provincial agencies
- Look for online contact information for a company that called you, just to ensure the number they gave you is actually tied to a real business
- Verify credit card calls with your bank or call your credit card company directly
Don’t give out your personal information
If you didn’t initiate a phone call with an organization or company, you cannot prove the legitimacy of that person. Having said that, avoid giving out personal information like:
Beware of unsolicited calls where the caller asks you for personal information, such as:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your birthdate
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Your credit card or banking information
Protect yourself online
You can protect your identity and data online by being aware of some common tricks used by fraudsters:
- No legitimate company will ever email you to tell you that your computer has a virus
- Emails that contain spelling or formatting errors is a sign that something may not be right
- Don’t click on any attachments or links unless you can verify an email is legitimate
- Have anti-virus software installed on your computer and make sure it’s kept updated
- Never give remote access to your computer
If you are looking for more information on scams or fraud, check out the Government of Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre online.