Q. Recently, I received an email with a request to verify information. I replied, as I was familiar with the institution. Several days later, I was informed by my financial institution my account had been compromised. I hope you print this because it has taught me a lesson.
— Bernice, Alberta
A. The English dictionary defines “fraud” as the intentional deception resulting in injury to another person; something intended to deceive.
New fraudulent schemes are invented everyday. Businesses and individuals should always be diligent. Fraudsters work 24/7 and use the most modern of technology.
Individuals must be careful to secure personal information and always be cautious when revealing such. Fraudsters use many simple and creative ways to get your personal information, such as some of the following:
• Emails claiming to be legit institutions to obtain personal information.
• Fraudsters go through your garbage seeking your bills, bank statements, etc. If you have a shredder, use it.
• Stealing numbers for your credit/debit cards when processing your card. Be careful next time you fill up at the pump.
• Rob you of your wallets/purses with all your credit cards, etc. Not exactly high-tech, but effective.
Individuals should be on the alert, as scams are created faster than I can write my next column. The following list should keep you on the look out:
• An offer in the mail to claim your winnings by calling a 1-900 number. Your cost is per-minute charges, your possible winnings, a loonie or twoonie.
Foreign country scam
• Emails to transfer millions of dollars to your bank account with an eventual request for a small processing fee.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax refund
• Emails claiming to be CRA requesting personal information in order to process tax refund. This is not the CRA!
Unfortunately, we live in a society that often reflects our cliché; If it sounds too good to true, it probably is.
Fraud fact sheet
Recognize a scam:
• It sounds too good to be true
• Reveal private and personal information
• Pay a small fee
• Call 1-900 number
• Caller wants to be your best friend
If you suspect a scam:
• Do not call back or respond
• Delete email
• Hang up
• Report scam
How to report a scam:
• RCMP — Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre; 1-888-495-8501; firstname.lastname@example.org
• Competition Bureau of Industry Canada; 1-800-348-5358; email@example.com
– Reach Henry Choo Chong, CGA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-489-7800, ext. 227.