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  Learn How to Spot a Scam and Protect Yourself

Mar 28, 2014 12:13 ET

To wrap up Fraud Prevention Month, we want to remind citizens that whether it's Internet or mail fraud, deceptive telemarketing, door to door soliciting or identity theft, fraud is a serious problem.

Thousands of Canadians are defrauded each year. Today we are going to help you to recognize a scam so you won’t become a victim, how you can report it, how to protect yourself and how to help prevent others from becoming victims.

Here are some tips to help safeguard against fraud:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! This includes making easy money with a small investment or sending money to claim a gift or prize.

  • Do not submit to threats of pay now or you’ll be arrested. Police do not attend residences to collect outstanding debt.

  • Use caution when purchasing items from online sources. Meet sellers in a safe location and do not offer payment through the Internet.

  • Be wary when you meet someone through a dating website if they ask you to send money or e-transfer money, deposit cheques or issue money orders, in particular to foreign countries. Most turn out to be fraudulent and you’ll be responsible for the debt.

  • Check your credit rating with Equifax and TransUnion. There is a fee associated with the check, but better to be safe than sorry.

  • When you’re on banking websites, be wary of pop-up messages requesting personal information and/or PIN.

  • Never give out your personal information or PIN number over the phone or through the computer. Trustworthy companies will never ask for this information.

  • Purchase a small, home shredder for sensitive data. Shred all pre-approved credit offers, card receipts, phone bills, old cheques, etc. before discarding.

  • If someone claims to need you (and your money) to uncover a bank fraud, contact the police immediately. Banks do not use customers in this manner.

  • Avoid the temptation of a bargain. Turn away solicitors when they show up at your home uninvited, offering a great deal.

  • Hang up on callers that ask personal questions, pressure you to get involved in something you know nothing about (a scheme, lottery, prize, etc.) or call you often.

  • Do not carry birth certificates, passports, SIN cards or extra credit cards on you unless necessary.

  • If you are solicited to donate, be cautious. Get information from the canvasser or caller, then cross-check directly through the registered charity. Registered Canadian charities (for income tax purposes) are listed on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

    If you are unsure of a situation, contact Durham Police at 1-888-579-1520 or one of the following organizations:

    Competition Bureau - 1–800–348–5358

    Canadian Anti–Fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) - 1–888–495–8501

    Better Business Bureau

    If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, please call 1-888-579-1520.

    On Monday, we’ll share some examples of real cases that have been investigated by our Fraud Unit so you can better understand how to avoid becoming a victim.

    Below are attached files.
    fraud thumb (JPG file, 42.5K bytes)