Many Canadians fall victim to scams and fraudulent activities. In 2021, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) recorded more than 106,000 reports of fraud from Canadian citizens, with an estimated $380 million of financial loss reported by 67,533 actual victims.
Criminals who carry out frauds and scams will do everything they could to steal your money. To boot, they want to access your confidential information. They even take the guise of a charitable organization, government agency, or a business supplier to defraud you.
Now, there are more ways than one to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Of course, the best way to start is to equip yourself with the right knowledge. The month of March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Look closely into this nationwide campaign because there’s so much to learn about fraud. Read this article for more.
What is Fraud Prevention Month?
Fraud Prevention Month, which occurs in March every year, is a nationwide campaign in Canada. It aims to raise fraud awareness among Canadian consumers and boost their confidence in recognizing and fighting fraud.
Consumer groups, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement agencies go hand in hand to organize events and educate the public on how to prevent themselves from becoming victims and report fraud activities whenever and wherever they spot them.
One of the primary partners of this campaign is the Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency whose main objective is to ensure Canadian consumers and businesses prosper in an innovative and competitive marketplace.
Most of the events related to Fraud Prevention Month will be held virtually to follow the preemptive measures in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Common Types of Fraud to Avoid
There are different types of fraud that are common nowadays. You need to be well aware of the various kinds of fraudulent activities so that it would be easy for you to avoid them.
Lotteries and Sweepstakes
Winning the lottery is sure to be a dream of many people. But take caution when someone contacts you that you have hit the prize in the lottery because the one contacting you might be a fraudster.
Scammers prey on lottery and sweepstakes scam victims via text message, mail, email, phone, or social media. To claim the “prize,” victims are told to pay for registration or legal fees or prepay taxes.
According to Better Business Bureau’s report, lottery and sweepstakes scams have resulted in $117 million losses in Canada. But it might only be a small percentage of the actual loss since many of the victims of such scams are ashamed to report to the authorities.
Avoid getting victimized by lottery and sweepstakes scams by making sure that the said “lottery winnings” are legitimate. Also, don’t get into the bait of paying cash before you can get your winnings.
Money Transfer Requests
Fraudsters are also taking advantage of money transfer services because it’s one of the easiest ways to scam people right now. Also, money transfer services only have very limited protections for the sender. The sender can’t even reverse the transaction after the fact that he/she has been cheated.
So, if someone is requesting you to send money through a money transfer service, you should verify the person sending the request to avoid falling victim to scammers.
Since almost every one of us use the internet nowadays, scammers also take advantage of this platform to defraud and get money from people. Internet scams can come in various forms.
- Emails that are sent in large quantities are called spam. Most people consider spam emails annoying, but they can also be dangerous if these emails are used to defraud recipients who respond to the message. So, think twice before responding to spam emails or you can use filters to reduce the number of spam emails you receive.
- Fraudsters send social media messages or emails with links that are actually malware. Once you click on this link, it may infect your device and enable scammers to access the files in it. To prevent this type of internet scam, you need to avoid clicking on links from suspicious emails or social media messages.
- Phishing is a type of internet scam that lures individuals into providing important personal information, such as credit card and bank details. This cybercrime can be carried out via a text message or email.
- Dating and Romance Scams. Online dating is prevalent nowadays, but some people use fake profiles on dating sites to victimize people who are looking for a relationship. A scammer will try to make you fall in love, and after having established a strong connection with you, you’ll be asked for money for various reasons.
If you receive a call or text from an anonymous number claiming to be your family member or relative and asking for money to cover emergency expenses, be wary because it might be an emergency scam.
Contact the real number of the family member or relative who’s supposedly in financial need. In this way, you can verify if he/she is really the one calling you. It’s also advisable to ask the stranger some personal questions for verification.
Golden Rules of Fraud Prevention
Follow these rules so as not to make yourself a victim of the scams mentioned above.
- Verify contact details.
- Don’t fall to too-good-to-be-true offers.
- Ignore unexpected calls, texts, or emails.
- Be wary of time pressure.
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know.
- Don’t give your bank information and other sensitive personal details.
- Don’t click suspicious links or download suspicious software.
Actions to Take if You Are Victim of a Scam
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam or any fraudulent crime, here are the steps you should take.
- Report the crime to the authorities. If you’re living in Ontario, report it to the Ontario Provincial Police.
- Call your family members because they might help you deal with the problem. It’s also one way to make them aware of such fraudulent activities.
- Contact your bank or other financial institutions if you have given out your sensitive data to the scammer.
Fraud and scams are among the most common crimes nowadays. Anyone can fall victim to it, so you must equip yourself with knowledge on the different types of scams today and how to avoid them.