Here are 8 red flags that can help you identify and protect yourself from fraudulent activity.
Jul. 15, 20203-minute read
There are a lot of fraud scams out there with many variations and new creative schemes popping up. You can protect yourself by watching out for these 8 red flags.
1. It sounds too good to be true
Everybody loves unexpected money, a large windfall from an unknown relative or to hear that they’ve won a contest. But promises of an overseas inheritance or winnings from contests you don’t remember entering may signal that the offer isn’t quite what it seems. These types of scams often say they require some sort of payment or tax up front before the funds can be released.
2. The sender asks for urgency or secrecy
Urgent requests with a need for secrecy are the hallmarks of many scams. Fraudsters will encourage immediate action so you don’t have time to think rationally or investigate the legitimacy of the request. Take your time and speak with a trusted contact.
3. It involves money transfers
Many scams involve a request to wire money electronically or send cryptocurrency. Once the money is sent, it’s usually impossible to get it back.
4. You’re asked to provide personal information
Fraudsters may ask potential victims to provide more personal or financial information than would be necessary for a legitimate transaction or discussion. This includes information like your credit card number, PIN, passwords, social insurance number, driver’s licence number or passport number.
5. Spelling mistakes
Be skeptical of emails, messages or website addresses that contain misspelled common words, grammatical errors that make the message difficult to read or expressions that are used incorrectly or awkwardly.
6. Romance is offered
Keep your guard up and look out for potential scammers who will try to lower your defenses by appealing to your romantic or compassionate side. They operate on popular, legitimate dating sites as well as fake ones. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met.
7. It’s an emergency
Someone asks you to send funds for an emergency. One variation of this ploy features 2 people on the phone, one pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbour or a family friend in trouble. Before sending any money, call your grandchild, neighbour or friend at the number that you have for them — not one provided by the caller — to confirm the story. Don’t be shy to discuss the situation with a trusted friend or family member before sending any money.
8. You owe taxes
A common scam takes the form of emails or phone calls made by someone pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and asking for payment. Keep in mind that the CRA would never
use text messages to communicate
use aggressive or threatening language
threaten you with arrest or send police
ask for payments via prepaid credit cards or gift cards, such as iTunes or The Home Depot
collect or distribute payments through Interac e-Transfer®
ask for financial information.
To learn more about fraud and how to bank safely, visit banking fraud.
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