March is fraud Prevention Month, so be aware

A list of some of the recent scams and what to do if scammed

Don’t be fooled.

The local Mounties are using this month as an opportunity to remind residents to be fraud aware.

Fraudsters have no boundaries — they try their tricks on anyone anywhere at any time. Through fraud prevention awareness, everyone can reduce their risk of becoming victims.

Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from reporting these fraudulant incidents, or checking up on these people, or your own relativres. These people count on your reluctance to get away with fraud.

Last year, a number of residents were victimized by various frauds and scams. The followings are some of the ones that happened locally.

Grandparent scam

A person claiming to be the victim’s grandchild called and asked the victim for money. The “grandchild” needed the money for bail, medical bills or other types of emergency situations. The caller pleaded emotionally and tried rushing the victim to send money.

If this happens to you  don’t give in. Resist the pressure to “act now” and be very wary of unsolicited calls.

Verify who you are dealing with. Ask for details from the caller, such as his/her name, whereabouts, etc. Then confirm them with other family members.

Better be safe than be sorry. Contact the police as they may be able to help verify the legitimacy of the telephone call.

Phishing/SMiShing

Unsolicited fake emails or SMS (text) messages that appear to be from financial institutions, businesses, organizations or credit card companies asking for money or personal information. Some phishing messages received locally offered a large sum of cash or very high return on investment while others asked for account numbers and passwords.

Be suspicious of e-mail that requests sensitive information, like passwords and PIN numbers. Most organizations stopped making such requests by e-mail a long time ago.

Don’t click on links embedded in the e-mail. Clicking it may download a malware or take you to a phishing site.

Revenue Canada scam

The newest one appears to be from Revenue Canada, “Your tax refund online” stating there is an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment. Revenue Canada does not correspond via email. This is a scam, do not respond in any way.

Cheque fraud

A stranger approached a victim to tell a long and often sad story, and then asked them to cash a cheque. Although the cheque was for hundreds of dollars, the fraudster only asked for a fraction of that amount in cash in return.

The offer sounds too good to be true. Politely decline the offer and continue walking.

Report suspicious activities. Make a note of the person’s description and the last direction of travel, and then call the police.

Debit/Credit cards skimming (with a twist)

Working in groups of two or three, the scammers followed a victim around a grocery store and discretely recorded the victims’ PIN when the groceries were paid for by credit or debit card. They then followed the victim home, pretended to have car problems and asked the victim for water to cool the engine. When the victim returned with water, the crooks were gone along with the victim’s purse.

Be aware of your surrounding. Use your body to shield the PIN pad when entering your PIN.

Contact the authorities: As soon as you find out your card has been compromised, contact your financial institution and the police to report it.

Pin pad skimming

A scammer entered a business telling the clerk he was sent there to fix the PIN pad. If the unsuspecting clerk had allowed the scammer to “fix” the PIN pad, a skimming device would have been installed to record customers’ account information.

If this happens to you. Verification is the best policy. As an employee, if you have no prior knowledge from your colleagues that the PIN pad is being serviced, call someone to confirm the appointment.

Report suspicious activities. Make a note of the person’s description, and then call the police.

Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca for more information on fraud and scams prevention tips and identity theft.

Learn how to recognize, report and help stop fraud, and report fraud.

Also visit Be Fraud Aware’s website at: www.befraudaware.ca

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