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Scams to avoid in 2017

Written by Kelley Keehn

Monday, March 13th, 2017

1. The Government is calling (no they're not)

The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) scam is still going strong. This is where a fraudster makes very threatening calls, demanding money that you owe (which you don't). And for newcomers to Canada, they're even threatening deportation. Hang up the phone or don't answer it, even if it says CRA on your call display. If you're in doubt whether you owe CRA money, call them yourself. This goes for any other lender contacting you.

 2. No one is calling (it's OK not to say hello)

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre states that this American scam is making its way up through our borders. The U.S. Better Business Bureau is warning people about the “Can You Hear Me?" scam, in which people are recorded answering “yes." That recording can be used to sign victims up for a product or service, and the scammers then demand to be paid, using the recorded “yes" as supposed confirmation of an agreement. As with the CRA scam, hang up. You're not being rude – you're protecting yourself and your family.

 3. Complex gambling (Russian Roulette that's illegal) – called Binary Options

There are two top rules in investing: (1) if you don't understand it, walk away, and (2) if it's too good to be true, it always is. The Ontario Securities Commission is “increasingly concerned about the growing number of websites promoting offshore binary options trading platforms that are targeting Canadians," says Tyler Fleming, Director of the Investor Office with the OSC. "These websites can make it seem like investors can make quick and easy money with binary options, but we want to make it clear: no business is currently registered or authorized to sell binary options in Canada. If in doubt, please contact the OSC."

 4. Sticky credit and debit payments (scammers are shimmying)

Recently, the CBC reported of a new tool being inserted into the merchant's machine that is after your credit and debit card information. The story recommends that you don't use the swipe strip on your credit card, especially if a sign says that the tap and chip option isn't working. If you think you've swiped or used a compromised terminal, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.

 They're still going phishing (don't get caught)

No one, except the fraudsters, want to go on this type of fishing expedition. Scammers are trying to trick you into getting your information in so many ways today. Whether it's a phony text message, a call asking for your credit card info or a fake email from your bank or other retailer that you shop with. Slow down and take a moment before opening any email, clicking on a link or giving out any information to a request, be it through text, by phone or email. Remember, when in doubt, contact the institution or merchant yourself. For example, if you get an email from your bank saying there was fraudulent activity found and your account will be frozen immediately if you don't click the link they're providing to change your password, don't act. This type of threatening email can really get your attention – who wants their bank account frozen – but it's definitely a hoax. Call or go online to your bank's website yourself. Never click any link or reply to any email sent to you that you didn't initiate. Banks never request banking information by email or text.

6. Hello, my name is (but it's not you) identity fraud

Having your credit card shut down because of fraud is frustrating and inconvenient. But being a victim of identity theft can be devastating and it's estimated that it can take four working weeks to clear your name. Identity theft occurs when a fraudster uses your information and name to acquire loans, lines of credit, credit cards and even a mortgage. Fraudsters can use your identity to commit crimes and much more. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports that last year there were 9,134 complaints of identity fraud, 8,105 victims and a reported dollar loss of over $11 million. “The victims calling in were very confused and their lives had been turned upside down with respect to finances and personal information," says Nancy Cahill from the CAFC.

Sources:    

  1.  My interview with Nancy Cahall, Acting Call Centre & Intake Unit Manager from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
  2. My interview with Tyler Fleming, director of the Investor Office with the Ontario Securities Commission
  3. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIw2uLPjzQ

     

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