2019 Top 6 Canadian Frauds & Scams
Written by Pauline Murray, CFP, CICEA, CPCA, AIAA, ACS
December 31, 2019
There is no end to the schemes that unsavory characters will use to separate you from your hard-earned savings. They will use every trick in the book to get you to buy, sign, divulge, or give away information that you may not even think will help them. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) receives more than 50,000 phone complaints annually and approximately 1,200 email submissions daily.
What should you watch out for:
Income Tax Extortion Scam: Threatening phone calls from agents claiming to be from CRA demanding payment. Red Flags: Asking for your SIN number and/or requesting payment in Bitcoin or through gift cards. Protect Yourself: Hang up and contact CRA direct if you have concerns.
Online Purchase Scams: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Shop on legitimate sites only and research reviews of the products you are looking to purchase. Red Flags: Looking for direct payment – credit card online or by EFT but not offering secure payment options like Paypal. Protect Yourself: Shop on legitimate retail sites only. Google search reviews for the product/company.
Advance Fee Loans: In Canada, a lender cannot ask you to pay a fee before giving you a loan. Red Flags: Asking for fee up front & offering guaranteed approval without credit checks. Protect Yourself: Google search reviews for the product/company.
SIM Card Swapping Scams: Fraudsters gain access to your mobile phone account by claiming that the phone was lost or stolen to the carrier. Your phone number is then linked to a new SIM card. By using “Forget password”, the fraudster can take control of the phone accounts/applications and the information within them. Red Flags: Loss of access to mobile service, phone programs or applications. Protect Yourself: 1) Don’t publish your full birthdate anywhere; 2) Don’t open phishing emails, 3) Use additional safety measures when offered to you by banks and other applications.
Tech Support Scams: Callers pretending to be from a reputable tech company stating that their records show that your computer has viruses and malware. Red Flags: 1) Ask for access to your computer to fix it for you. 2) Request your passwords. Protect Yourself: Hang up and contact your regular computer service provider.
Phishing: Scammers claiming to be someone else specific or someone you know. It’s important to never divulge personal information or click on links in unfamiliar emails. Red Flags: An email that seems unusual from a bank, a friend, or a company you deal with that includes links. Protect Yourself: Look closely at the email address the message has been sent from – is it your friend’s? Still unsure? Call your bank or the company; email the friend with the email address you have and ask them.
Are you a victim, or know someone that may be?
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501
Pauline Murray has been with Thom & Associates Financial Planners Inc in Kelowna, BC as a licensed advisor since 1997 and a Certified Financial Planner since 2008.