Be on the look out for fraud

Phone calls often a way for fraudsters to find victims

When an offer is too good to be true, it’s probably not true.

When Astrid Koenig received an unsolicited call offering to significantly reduce the interest on her credit card, an alert Koenig patiently sat through and listened.

Then, at an appropriate pause in the sales pitch, Koenig asked them for their information and a call-back number. They hung up.

Koenig then entered *69 on her phone, a feature that allows a caller to hear the number of the last call that dialled their phone.

The number that came up was 604-298-3708. Koenig googled the number. And sure enough, a number of pages came up, warning readers of a scam.

Being proactive, Koenig phoned both her bank (to ensure that they weren’t randomly contacting people and making this offer) and the RCMP. She also phoned the Sooke News Mirror.

“People are at risk of losing a lot of money,” she said in conversation. Koenig used to work at a family resource centre in Calgary, and she knows banks don’t make these unsolicited offers by phone.

If you really want reduced interest rates on your credit card, Koenig suggests you “call your bank directly.” That was advice she used to dole out at the centre, and she often heard back from surprised clients that, if they made a payment proposal, a reduced rate was often made available.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers up the following advice to help consumers protect themselves from fraud: 1. If you suspect someone is trying to get your personal information, ask for the person’s name, name of the organization and A phone number where he or she can be reached.

2. Look up the organization’s telephone number or website yourself. Look at the back of your credit card statements or other legitimate documents to see if the telephone number or website address matches the one you were given.

3. Call the company by using the phone number you have looked up yourself to verify the person that has contacted you is indeed a member of the company’s staff.

4. Contact the Better Business Bureau and ask questions about the company.

If you have been a victim of fraud and suspect your finances are at risk:

1. Contact your local police and file a police report.

2. Contact the financial institutions, credit card companies, phone companies, and other lenders for any accounts you suspect may have been opened or tampered with.

3. Contact the two credit bureaus in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion and ask that a “Fraud Alert” be placed in your credit file. At the same time, order copies of your credit report and review them. Make sure all the accounts and debts that show up on your report are yours. Report any incorrect information to the credit bureaus.

4. Contact the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CAFC) toll free at 1-888-495-8501 to report the fraud and get advice. The CAFC plays a crucial role in educating the public about specific mass marketing fraud pitches and in collecting and disseminating victim evidence, statistics and documentation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read