(NC) Believing you’re immune to becoming a target of fraud is one of the biggest money mistakes you can make. Victims come from all walks of life and fraudsters are increasingly sophisticated, creating tricky new scams online, over the phone and in person.
Canadians lose millions of dollars every year from these kinds of attacks. But fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid this.
“By recognizing, rejecting and reporting scams, consumers can protect themselves and assist in the fight against fraud,” explains John Pecman, the Commissioner of Competition. “During Fraud Prevention Month and throughout the year, the Competition Bureau works with its partners to help Canadians combat fraudulent activity.”
The Competition Bureau recommends keeping these tips in mind:
1. Beware of offers that seem “too good to be true.”
2. Be vigilant when evaluating ads offered online, over the phone or in print — whether it’s for a job, product or service. For example, if you see an ad for a job where you need to use your bank account to receive and pass on payments from a foreign company, or a promise that you will receive a percentage commission for each payment you pass on, it’s probably a scam.
3. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or letters from unknown sources.
4. Don’t provide your information in response to unsolicited pop-ups.
5. When it comes to door-to-door sales, don’t be rushed. Research the company, the individuals, the product or the offer, and verify any contact and company details. You do not have to give them an answer at your door.
6. Be sure that you understand all terms and conditions of an offer of service or product before sending money or giving credit card or bank account details. Find the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer that requires your credit card number. Often these can lead to charges that you didn’t expect. Inform yourself about renewal and cancellation requirements. If this information is difficult to find, think twice before signing up.
7. Shred unneeded documents like receipts, bank statements, old tax returns, and even junk mail containing your address, such as credit card preapprovals. All of these documents contain personal information and should be destroyed before they hit the recycling bin.
8. Know that trustworthy businesses almost never contact you or visit your home unannounced to ask for personal details, banking or financial information. They do not do so by email, phone or text message, either.
9. Testimonials can appear quite believable by using so-called satisfied customers, celebrities, or experts. Be aware that these can be fake.
10. Report suspected scams to the Competition Bureau to help keep others from falling victim.
Find more information at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.