There are no typical victims of fraud and with today’s technology these creative scammers can be anywhere. The good news is – you’re in charge of your money and your safety.
Here are a few tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
- Keep Personal Information Confidential. Do not give personal information over the phone, through email or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with.
- Keep your Personal Information Safe. An identity thief will pick through your garbage or recycling bins, so be sure to shred unwanted personal documents such as transaction records, insurance forms, financial statements, cheques, copies of credit applications, etc.
- Keep your Computer Safe. Protect your computer with a good firewall and anti-virus, anti-malware software. Don’t try, don’t buy, and don’t reply to spam or emails that ask for your banking information. Be wary of online offers from web sites you don’t know.
- Protect your PIN and Passwords. Do not reveal your PIN or passwords to anyone, including employees of your financial institution, family members and friends. When conducting a transaction at an ATM or retail (point-of sale) location, keep your Member Card or Credit Card within sight and shield the keypad when entering your PIN.
- Don’t be a Victim of Cheque Fraud. If someone sends you a cheque and asks you to deposit the cheque into your account and then forward most of the funds by wire transfer or money order, watch out, you may become the victim of cheque fraud!
- Protect your Log On Information for Online Banking. Never share you password with anyone. Select a password that is easy to memorize but difficult to guess and change it in Online Banking on a regular basis.
Watch Out for Scams
Top 5 Scams
1. Top Emotional Scam - Charity Fundraising
Canadians are incredible generous, and when a natural disaster of tragedy strikes we are quick to open our wallets to those in need. But Beware! There are many fraudulent websites that pop-up to take advantage of your emotional state. Sometimes they look pretty legit. always donate to a charity that your know well and even stick with ones that you have donated to in the page.
2. Identity Theft - Remote Computer Repair
Someone contracts you claiming to be from a well-known software company such as Microsoft. They tell you that your computer is infected and they need remove access to fix it. They could be trying to download malware onto your computer so they can teal your identity. Never give someone remote access to your computer if you did not initiate contract using official information listed on the legitimate company website.
3. Social Media Scams - Fake Friend Request
Someone who you don't know, or even a legitimate 'friend' that was already your 'Facebook friend' sends you another friend request. These people could be trying to access the personals information on your profile or posts and could even post links that will infect your computer in order to steal your identity. If you are having doubts about how legit the request or link is , the safest bet is to not accept the friend request. always think before you click.
4. Utilities Scams - Fake Billing
You get a call from someone claiming to be a utility company, and they are using aggressive and threatening language. They demand your send them money immediately or else they will cut off service, and usually they want money through a Gift Card. Utility companies never conduct business in this way or demand payment in the way. If you are suspicious, hang-up and contact the utility company using legitimate contract information found on your bill.
5. Romance Scams - Online Dating
These are a lot of online dating sites out there, and there's also a lot of scammers preying on people's emotional states. Some red flags with online dating are if a person shows outward emotion way too soon, is from the same location but is always 'always on business', immediately wants to take the conservation onto email of other private messaging, or starts taking about personal financial hardships way too soon. the best rule of thumb is to never give your personal information of send money to someone that you've never met in person.
Scams Related to COVID-19
1. False Information Emails
The fraudsters have been sending emails claiming to be from legitimate organizations, government or public health agencies (e.g. World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada) to provide information about the coronavirus. The email message will advise the receiver to click a link or download an attachment for the information, but the user will likely download malware onto their computer network or device. As with other cyber-attacks, this malware could allow cybercriminals to take control of a device, log keystrokes, or access personal information and financial data.
2. Medical Advice Emails
Phishers have sent emails that offer bogus medical advice to help protect you against the coronavirus or cure you of it. Users will be provided with a malicious link to download expert information that can heal them or a link to purchase a fraudulent product (e.g. at-home COVID-19 test).
3. Corporate Policy Emails
Cybercriminals have also targeted employee workplace email accounts. With many workers currently working from home, some corporate cybersecurity measures may not be available, and the criminals are trying to take advantage. Employees may receive emails purporting to be from HR, advising users to click on a link to read the company’s updated Infectious Disease Policy. If you click on the fake company policy, you’ll download malicious software.
4. Business Email Compromise
According to a recent report, a cybercrime group well known for BEC schemes in the past, have incorporated COVID-19 into their scams. The group will imitate a company’s CFO and then contact someone in the accounts receivable department to request a list of delinquent clients and up-to-date contact information for each client. Once received, they quickly contact these clients and inform them that they have changed their banking information due to COVID-19 and request payment.
5. Malicious Websites
There have been many fraudulent COVID-19 themed websites launched since the pandemic emerged and recent research has estimated that 50% of the coronavirus themed domain registrations are likely from malicious actors. Many of these sites have leveraged John Hopkins University’s interactive map that shows you how COVID-19 is spreading throughout the world. The fraudulent websites are using real-time data from the John Hopkins site, but are also prompting users to download a malicious application.