As businesses and technology firms beef up their security systems, adding hedges and guardrails to protect their clients, so have the number of scams and phishing attacks on unsuspecting populations in Canada. Scammers have been known to employ a variety of tactics from warm and friendly phone calls, dubious sales and offers, to outright threats and manipulation.
While there seem to be endless ways people are targeted with fraudulent programs and scams, here are some red flags to watch out for.
- Being asked to do something urgently because the matter is time sensitive.
- Told not to share the details of the call with anyone.
- Asked to provide personal information including contact information, SIN, and financial card details.
- Being told to purchase gift cards online or in store.
- Asked to contribute towards something since others are doing it.
- Pretending that someone you know is in trouble and needs help.
- Being threatened with being apprehended if you do not pay the stipulated sum.
- Receiving an email under the guise of a friend or acquaintance.
- Offering a too-good-to-be-true offer that will magically do away with your financial woes.
- An unknown person claiming to receive your regular debt payments, telling you to transfer to them instead of following the process you have with the Financial Institution you work with.
- Being asked to wire money to someone you don’t know.
- Real-estate and rental agents offering a questionably high selling rate or low cost of rent, sometimes requiring you to make an unofficial upfront payment on the sidelines.
- Receiving a dubious job offer that requires you to process transactions, make phone calls from a company you haven’t heard about and isn’t credible.
If you have succumbed to such ploys, here are the steps you need to take immediately.
- Make a note of the name, phone and email of the person who contacted you.
- If you were directed to a website, make a note of the website address, and take screenshots of the pages you were directed to. Note their IP address if you can.
- Keep all your personal documents such as bank information, cheque books, SIN, health card, etc., in a safe location.
- Contact your local Law Enforcement office. As directed by them, report the matter to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Make sure you contact your bank (or relevant financial partners) to block your payment cards and cheque books, and change the passwords to your online accounts. Request for new payment cards and cheque books, and never share this information with anyone.
- Add a statement to your credit report and check frequently for any fraudulent activity.
Check with your bank for the right financial products and plans for your needs. For more articles on how to safeguard yourself from scams, read here for resources provided by the Government of Canada.
To speak to one of our accredited credit counsellors who can help you choose safe and legitimate insurance or other financial options, click here.