Are you a Target?
Question1 : Fraud is the number one crime against seniors.
True Some Canadian seniors are lonely, vulnerable, home during the day and trusting. Plus they are perceived to have money. This makes them very good targets for frauds and scams. However, fraud no longer discriminates based on age. Anyone is a target and could become a victim.
Question2 : Con artists target people with lots of money to lose.
False Con artists don’t care how much money you have. They just want all of it. If they can get $100 from 100 people that is $10,000. Not bad for a day or two of work. Billions of dollars are lost every year to frauds and scams.
Question3 : Con Artists give the impression that they are friendly, helpful and trustworthy and won’t usually use physical violence.
True The old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” certainly applies. While a con artist may pester someone to buy something or convince them to invest hard earned savings, he or she does not want to be noticed by police. Physical violence will usually bring the police. The con artist knows an easier target is always around the corner.
Question4 : When a company gives information in writing you can be sure no fraud will occur.
False Anyone with a computer can create official looking documents designed to convince people a company is legitimate. Ask to see a business license and references and then CHECK IT OUT. Call information. Check the yellow pages. Visit the offices of the company if you can. Make sure you know with whom you are doing business.
Question5 : If I only lose a small amount of money, then I am not a victim. I just made a mistake and should learn a lesson.
False All frauds should be reported, even if you are embarrassed or feel the amount of money is too small to worry about. You may not get your money back but the more information the fraud investigators have the easier it is to start tracking people down and put a case together. Report frauds to your local police, RCMP or PHONEBUSTERS, 1-888-495-8501. If you have a concern about a business transaction, contact your local provincial consumer ministry.
Question1 : You need a loan and your credit is not the best. You go on the Internet to see what you can find. Through your research, you find a company that has no complaints or negative feedback. You contact these friendly people and they will approve your loan after you have “secured” it with a small fee. This is a no-risk proposition, right?
False It is illegal to request fees to secure a loan. Legitimate reputable companies do not do this. The lack of negative feedback on the internet could be an indication that this fake company/scam is relatively new. This may be an “advance fee” scam. Do not get involved. Instead, report it. This activity also poses a risk for identity theft as the personal financial information you give could let thieves apply for credit in your name.
Question2 : Only do business over the internet if the website you are looking at is professional looking and includes contact information.
False Anyone can design, develop and create a website and load it onto the internet. There are programs to help people do this and the costs to do so are very small. Websites are like the windows of a store. Fraud artists want to lure you in to buy something or give them information. Make sure you are visiting a legitimate site by checking it out and ensuring it has a legitimate business address and phone number.
Question3 : Promptly respond to any emails you receive, especially if your bank urgently needs your help to fix your account and asks you to confirm your identity.
False This is called “Phishing”. Be wary of any organization contacting you and asking for any personal information they should already have. Do not click on any provided link. Do not call any provided numbers. Never give any information in these circumstances. The people behind the website and emails could be people trying to steal your identity. If you are concerned, pickup the telephone book, call the organization and ask questions.
Question4 : You have the latest computer with a current operating system, virus/spyware detection tools, a firewall and you check for and download updates on a daily basis. You know however that computers cannot be 100% safe. For that reason you are just a little extra careful when you use your personal information online.
True Congratulations! You are obviously cyber- street smart.
Question5 : You have read and understood everything there is to read about online scams and you now have become an expert in your own right. You can check this item off your list and stop worrying because you are protected and aware.
False Do not check this off your list. Online scams are constantly evolving. What you know now may be less useful in six months. Con artists are always creating new ways to get your money and your information. Get informed and stay informed.
Credit/Debit Card Frauds
Question1 : The number one way that con artists get people’s identity is by stealing passports.
False The number one identity theft fraud is the misuse of credit cards. Con artists steal, copy and use your credit and debit card information and pretend to be you to make purchases and get your money.
Question2 : The first thing to do if you think your credit card has been compromised is to cancel it.
True As soon as you realize your card is lost or stolen, or the information used, contact your financial institution to report the loss, cancel the card and get a new one. You will likely have to go through a security screening at the bank, but it is protecting your account. Be sure that mail coming to your house is secure. A thief, knowing you are getting a new credit card could be watching your mail.
Question3 : If you go to use your bank card at an ATM machine, and there are people loitering outside the machine, no problem, right?
False These people may be looking for an opportunity to watch you use your card at the machine. They will see if they can figure out your PIN and then they will try and get the card from you by either stealing it from your pocket, or capturing the card in the machine itself. If you are at all uncomfortable, leave the ATM and go to another one, or go inside the bank to do your transaction.
Question4 : It is safe to give any caller the three digit number from the back of your credit card.
False The three digit number is only on the hard copy of credit cards and is an extra security check. If you actually have the card in your possession, you never need to give this security number out. If you get a call, what the thief is actually doing is confirming that the card he has information on is in fact your card number. Once he has your three digit number he can produce a new fake card and start using it.
Question5 : The people who benefit from credit and debit card theft are petty thieves looking to buy merchandise for themselves.
False Drug traffickers, organized crime and terrorists ultimately benefit from credit and debit card thefts. They use the money from selling merchandise or stealing from bank accounts to fund their own illicit dealings.
Question1 : You receive an email from someone you don’t know with a “hot tip” that offers huge potential profits and limited risk. These opportunities are rare, so you should respond immediately to avoid losing out.
False If you get an email from someone you don’t know promising huge profits, it’s likely too good to be true. When it comes to your investments, deal only with qualified, registered professionals and with firms you know. You can check registration and disciplinary records by contacting the Investment Dealers Association, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association or your provincial securities regulator.
Question2 : You receive an email or letter from someone who says he is a high-ranking government official from a developing nation. He explains that due to complications, he cannot remove millions of dollars from an account and needs your help. In return, he offers to pay you $10,000 or a percentage of the funds. All you have to do is give your bank account number. Though it sounds like easy money, you should delete the message.
True There are many versions of this particular scam. If you had responded, your bank account would likely have been drained and you would have never heard from the “official” again. As well as deleting the message, you should also report this scam by forwarding a copy to PHONEBUSTERS at www.phonebusters.com.
Question3 : You regularly check an online investment bulletin board. You read a posting about an investment opportunity that sounds very promising. It even includes testimonials and refers to important news that has not been publicly disclosed. You should invest in the security quickly before the news gets out.
False Most online service providers do not police their investment bulletin boards. Even the ones that do are often swamped by the volume. There is nothing to stop a con artist from posting a pitch for a swindle, complete with fake testimonials. Always take the time to do your own homework before you consider an investment, and seek the advice of a qualified, independent financial advisor. Be careful about giving any personal information over the internet as it could increase your risk for identity theft.
Question4 : Someone from your community introduces you to an acquaintance who tells you about a once in a lifetime opportunity. He says he can double your money in six months, if you give him a cheque today. You tell him you will get back to him and take the time to do your own research.
True Be wary of anyone who pressures you to invest quickly to avoid missing out. Ask questions — make sure that you know exactly what the investment offer is. Get a second opinion from a trusted financial advisor and be sure to do a background check. You can access a list of financial regulators and self-regulator sites where you can check qualifications through the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork at http://www.cfson-crcsf.ca/en/helpful/ or your provincial securities regulator.
Question5 : You get a call from a promoter who says she can help you save money on your taxes. She sounds sincere and explains that she can keep your money outside of Canada where the government won’t be able to touch it. You’ve heard about offshore tax shelters so you agree to participate.
False If you choose to invest in a scheme based solely on claims that it will avoid income tax by investing offshore, it is very likely you will lose the money you invest. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you make any investment, be sure to check the seller’s qualifications and disciplinary record.
Question1 : You think you are a victim of identity theft. The first thing you should do is call your financial institutions and local police.
True If you have become a victim of identity theft, call your financial institutions and local police immediately. You should also contact both major credit-reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your credit report. Have a look at the Consumer Identity Theft Kit www.cmcweb.ca/idtheft, for more information on what to do.
Question2 : When you get rid of any documents with personal information, such as bank or credit card statements, transaction records, insurance forms or even when you discard your computer hard drive, you should throw them directly in the garbage or recycling.
False When discarding any documents containing personal information, destroy or shred them first before getting rid of them. One of the ways thieves can steal your identity is to retrieve personal information from your garbage or recycling bin by “dumpster diving”. Also, remember that your computer can contain a great deal of personal information. Before throwing out or selling your computer, ensure that the hard drive is removed or completely erased.
Question3 : When you get your bank account and credit card statements, you should read them and verify that the transactions listed are in fact ones you made.
True Be sure to carefully read your bank account and credit card statements. Check that the transactions listed are correct. If you don’t remember making a transaction, call your financial institution right away.
Question4 : When you create an email password, you should use your date of birth or that of your spouse or children.
False Always choose a complex password of letters, numbers and symbols. Easy-to-remember passwords are easy for thieves to guess.
Question5 : The best place to keep your personal identification documents (Social Insurance Number(SIN), passport, birth certificate, citizenship papers) is in your wallet.
False Do not carry your personal identification documents such as your SIN, passport or birth certificate with you unless you need them. Always keep them under lock and key at home. If you do need to take them with you, leave a photocopy at home. A thief who takes your wallet may use your personal documents to impersonate you, or sell them to others who may do the same.