- June 11th, 2014
- Rich Smith
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Fraud is still a common and frequent occurrence, don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Along with phone fraud (telemarketers) and mail fraud, people must now be careful while dealing with confidential information over email as well.
One way to counter fraud is to be aware of your accounts. Everyone should take some time to look at their own credit report, at least once every 6 months to a year. By knowing who is looking at your credit report (along with what accounts are being reported under your name and social insurance number to Equifax or Trans Union each month) you take away the ability of these individuals to attack you. You can order a free credit report by mailing an application with copies of your ID to Equifax. But because that is complex, many people never do it. So, we suggest that you spend $20-25 very wisely and order a credit report for yourself at http://www.equifax.ca . You can even sign up for programs that will give you regular updates of your credit report and notify you of any suspicious activity, but those do come with a monthly fee attached.
Along with making sure it is not occurring, here are some tips suggested at recognizing fraud by shared by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center:
1. It sounds too good to be true
You’ve won a big prize in a contest that you don’t recall entering. You’re offered a once-in-a-lifetime investment that offers a huge return. You’re told that you can buy into a lottery ticket pool that cannot lose.
2. You must pay or you can’t play
“You’re a winner!” but you must agree to send money to the caller in order to pay for delivery, processing, taxes, duties or some other fee in order to receive your prize. Sometimes the caller will even send a courier to pick up your money.
3. You must give them your private financial information
The caller asks for all your confidential banking and/or credit card information. Honest businesses do not require these details unless you are using that specific method of payment.
4. Will that be cash… or cash?
Often criminal telemarketers ask you to send cash or a money order, rather than a cheque or credit card. Cash is untraceable and can’t be cancelled. And, crooks also have difficulty in establishing themselves as merchants with legitimate credit card companies.
5. The caller is more excited than you are
The crooks want to get you excited about this “opportunity” so that you won’t be able to think clearly.
6. The manager is calling
The person calling claims to be a government official, tax officer, banking official, lawyer or some other person in authority. The person calls you by your first name and asks you a lot of personal or lifestyle questions (like how often do your grown children visit you).
7. The stranger calling wants to become your best friend
Criminals love finding out if you’re lonely and willing to talk. Once they know that, they’ll try to convince you that they are your friend – after all, we don’t normally suspect our friends of being crooks.
8. It’s a limited opportunity and you’re going to miss out
If you are pressured to make a big purchase decision immediately, it’s probably not a legitimate deal. Real businesses or charities will give you a chance to check them out or think about it.
Feel free to call us to discuss your specific needs, if you have any questions, or if you’d just like to get our advice before you spend any money. Or, check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center here.
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