Fraud Safety

Have you received a scam phone call or email?

Anyone who receives a suspicious communication should immediately report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or to the institution that it appears to be from.

Click here to see what you can do if you're a victim of fraud.

Only call police if you have lost money to the scam or if you are victim of identity theft. 

If you do call police to report a fraud, please call 519-824-1212 ext. 7470 to book an appointment.

This year, the OACP has chosen to focus on raising public awareness about financial crimes and fraud ahead of the national Fraud Prevention Month in March. Our campaign theme is: "Know Who You're Dealing With...". Click the picture for more information.

  

 

 

Educate yourself with these Resources

 

  • Report all Frauds
  • Do your Research
  • Share your experiences with Family and Friends
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions and verify information.
  • Personal Information is just that - Personal!
  • Shred all documents
  • Report lost / stolen cards immediately
  • Don't carry unnecessary identification like your Social Insurance Card, Birth Certificate, Passport, Cheque books

 

Credit/Debit Card Fraud

Payment cards are either stolen or skimmed at businesses and then copied and used by fraudsters

  • Avoid having credit cards with high limits that you aren't using
  • Use the same credit card for any/all online purchases
  • Ask questions if you see your card swiped multiple times
  • Keep your cards in a secure place and never leave them unattended
  • Keep track of billing statements
  • Never give your PIN number to anyone
  • Always shield your PIN number
  • Do not write your PIN number down

 

Current Ongoing Scams

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Fraudsters are calling victims, sending letters and emails claiming to be from the CRA and asking them for personal or banking information.

Canada Revenue Agency clearly states on their website that they will not request personal information of any kind of a taxpayer by email.

 

Advanced Fee Scams

Victims are tricked into paying up front for vacations, loans, prizes or inheritances. Often the scam involves wire transferring money to the fraudster.

  • Real lotteries and loaning agencies do not ask you to pay fees up front.
  • Never send money to anybody you don't know.

Anti-Virus Scam (i.e. Microsoft)

People pretending to be from Microsoft contact victims and promise to speed up or repair their computer systems. The fraudsters will often request remote access to the victim's computer and then install programs such as 'key logger ' to capture sensitive information.

  • Do not allow anyone remote access to your computer.
  • Do not click on links within unknown emails.

Mystery Shopper

Victim receives a letter or an email offering employment as a "Mystery Shopper". Upon acceptance of the offer, the victim will receive a cheque. They will be instructed to use a Money-Transfer Company and wire a portion of that money back to a named person. The cheque will later be deemed fraudulent and the victim will be held responsible for the financial loss.

  • Do not send a Wire Transfer/Interac e-transfer/Money Transfer to someone you do not know.

Rental Scam

The victim places an advertisement to rent out an accommodation. They then receive a cheque for the rent which is more than was required and are asked to wire the overpayment back.

  • Don't accept a cheque or money order for payment that is more than what you agreed upon.
  • Do not Wire Transfer/Interac e-transfer/Money Transfer to someone not known.

Identity Theft / Fraud

The fraudster wrongfully obtains and then uses personal information for financial gain (to obtain new credit cards, loans, bank accounts, etc. in the victim's name.)

  • Personal information is stolen from wallets, purses, mail, or online phishing sites
  • Carry only the ID you need
  • Keep track of billing statements
  • Shred any bills, statements, receipts, documents or old ID containing personal information
  • Cancel and destroy cards you don't use
  • Don't give out personal information by email
  • Ensure firewall, anti-virus and spyware are up-to-date
  • Order a copy of your credit report yearly. Check for accuracy.

Traffic Infringement Scam

Victims of this current scam are receiving emails stating that they have committed a traffic infringement. The email appears to be coming from government authorities, such as police, and contains a reason for the infringement (usually negligent driving), an infringement number, date of issue and the amount due. The email states that the fine must be paid immediately, and connects victims to a link to enter in their personal information. The email will also have an attachment (usually in the form of a .zip) that infects victims computer with a virus once opened. While these emails may look legit, police are reminding citizens that government bodies and police services do not issues traffic notices via email, nor will they request an email address during a traffic stop. Never give out your personal information online to untrusted sources. Other telltale signs of a phishing scam include: unsolicited emails, spelling and formatting errors, suspicious hyperlinks. Remember to always go with your gut. If an email seems fishy, it probably is. You can find more information on fraud here.

Continuity Scams

 A new scam has seen to be surfacing as online users notice pop-up or advertisements offering a free trial or free coupon, on the condition they complete a survey. Usually, when asked to participate, consumers are also asked to provide their credit card information to pay for the shipping and handling of the gift. Without reviewing the terms and conditions, victims are unlikely to see the hidden fees associated with the offer, which include monthly fees that are nearly impossible to cancel. These fees can range from $1.99 to $1000. This scam also extends into other areas, such as free weight loss pills, or free subscriptions, especially related to helping consumers live a healthier lifestyle. In order to prevent this fraud from happening, victims should contact the suspected company, keeping a record of all their communication. Victims are able to refuse delivery of goods and should contact their respective financial institution or credit card provider to request a charge back due to fraud.

Travel Scams

There are a large variety of travel fraud scams circulating the Internet right now. Some include the free or "discounted" vacation scams, points scams, vacation rental scams and time share scams. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has put out a bulletin regarding these scams in an attempt to provide awareness on a number of travel scams targeting Canadian consumers as well as merchants in the travel industry. To read this bulletin, please click here. And always remember, if it seems like the deal is too good to be true, it likely is!

Fake CEO Scam

You receive an urgent email from your CEO requesting money to secure a major business deal. It looks legit. Sure, it's not normal procedure, but time is of the essence and you can't let your boss down. What if the future success of the company is in your hands? Do you transfer the money?

Don't fall for it. It's a scam.

In a typical "fake CEO scam", fraudsters gain access to a high-ranking executive's email account, or create a similar email address, and target employees in financial positions within the organization who have the authority to move money. They send realistic-looking emails, requesting urgent wire transfers for what appears to be legitimate business reasons, like "securing an important contract", "a confidential transaction" or "updating a supplier's payment information".

They often send the targeted fraudulent email when executives are travelling abroad or otherwise difficult to reach.

Believing that the request is real, the employee transfers the money--only to find out upon the boss's return that the email was a scam and the money is gone.

Losses to this type of scam typically range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars. The fake CEO scam is a growing global threat to businesses and organizations of all sizes.

Use these tips to help keep fraudsters out of your business:

  • Ensure your computer systems are secure, keep antivirus software up to date, and encourage all employees to use strong passwords to protect their email accounts from hackers.
  • Double-check with executives when they send wire transfers requests by email, even when they look legit. Don't use the contact information provided in the message and don't reply to the email.
  • Take a careful look at the sender's email address. It may be very similar to the real one, with only one or two letters different.
  • Establish a standard process that requires multiple approvals for money transfers.
  • Limit the amount of employee information available online and on social media. Fraudsters use it to find potential victims and time their targeted fraud.
  • Learn more about the fake CEO scam and other "spear phishing" scams to better identify and reject them.

If you've been the victim of a CEO scam or if you have information about this type of scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), the Competition Bureau (1-800-348-5358) or the RCMP.

Romance Scam

There are a growing number of seniors who are turning to the internet to find companionship and love. Unfortunately, scammers know this and use every type of dating or social networking site available to seek out potential victims.

The scammer will gain the trust of the victim through displays of affection and will communicate via phone, skype and email for months if needed to build trust. The scammer will often claim to be working abroad, usually in a lucrative business venture. Eventually the scammer will want to meet with the victim in person. It is at this time that the scammer will inform they can't afford to travel and will ask for money to cover travel costs. Other variations include the scammer claiming that there is a medical emergency with a sick family member and will ask for money to cover medical expenses.

Warning Signs - How to Protect Yourself

Be on the lookout for someone who claims to be from Canada or the U.S. but they are working overseas.

Be careful communicating with someone who claims to have fallen in love with you quickly.

Beware if they claim they are coming to visit you but some situation prevents it from happening.

Don't leave the dating site. The person will usually want to use instant messaging or email.

Don't cash any cheques or send the person any money for any reason, whatsoever!

Recovery Pitch

If a consumer has been victimized by a scam, they are likely to be targeted again in the future with the recovery pitch. Scammers will target previous victims on the premise of increased vulnerability and likelihood of obtaining additional funds.  The recovery pitch involves scammers deceiving victims to believe there is an opportunity to recover funds lost in a previous scam (full or portion), such as in an Anti-Virus scam. Scammers may portray themselves as members of law enforcement, investigating agencies, bank employees, or lawyers to establish a sense of credibility. Furthermore, consumers are asked to log into their online banking. The consumer is told the screen will go black for a brief minute to process the refund, however the scammer utilizes the opportunity to forward money from the victim's line of credit or credit card to their bank account, making it appear as if a refund was deposited. Moreover, the victim is told an error occurred and the refund was overpaid (example: refunded $2900 Cdn instead of $290 Cdn). Scammers demand the victim refund the difference to correct the error. Victims will try to resolve the issue and send the monies only to later realize the original "refund" was actually a transfer from their line of credit or credit card.  The victim is now responsible for the funds lost..

The recovery pitch can take form using any scam. Whether it be a romance scam, prize scam, or one of the scams mentioned above, scammers may contact the victim to impersonate a lawyer and claim they can obtain lost funds for the price of legal fees. Victims will pay advance fees to assist in recovering lost finances.

Warning Signs - How to Protect Yourself

□Never pay an advance fee to obtain a refund.

□Record all information - confirm who you are dealing with.

□Conduct open source searches to cross reference information.

Bank Invesitgator Scam

Another form of the recovery pitch involves the Bank Investigator Scam. Consumers receive calls from scammers purporting to be from their bank or a major credit card provider. Victims are led to believe that a bank investigator is investigating unauthorized charges on their account to identify a suspect and refund the stolen funds. Victims provide remote access to their computer and online banking to allow the investigator to review any discrepancies or possibilities  of fraud. The investigator will deposit money into the victims account with instructions to wire/send the money internationally to see if anyone from the bank steals or intercepts the money. Requests of payment can vary, however include money service business transfers or wire transfers. Unbeknownst to the victim, the scammer will complete a transfer of funds from the victim's line of credit or credit card to their bank account to create a false pretense that the victim is using the banks money. Once the victim sends money to recover the original unauthorized charges, they realize they have been scammed and are responsible for the funds lost.