Fraud is a rapidly growing crime that can have devastating consequences for its victims. To protect yourself from becoming a victim, it is important to be informed about how frauds are perpetrated.
To avoid fraud, it is crucial to protect your personal information. Never give out personal information unless you are sure who you are dealing with and how they will use your information. Do not respond to unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting personal, banking, or credit card information. Keep personal information on social media sites to a minimum and limit access to those who can view it.
Monitor your bank and credit card activity and report any discrepancies immediately to your financial institution or credit card issuer. Check your credit history with Equifax and Trans Union Credit regularly and dispute any unauthorized entries with the credit bureau. If you are a victim of identity theft, file a police report.
Internet scams are common and often cross international borders. Be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar people, especially if they ask you to cash a cheque and transfer funds to another person. Even certified cheques can be counterfeit. Use complex passwords on your electronic devices and maintain up-to-date antivirus software. Avoid clicking on links contained in emails and never give anyone access to your computer based on an unsolicited phone call or email.
The saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” holds true in many cases. Take the time to seek advice or do research before making any financial commitments or sending funds. Do not let anyone pressure you into making a decision.
Consider registering your phone number with the National Do Not Call List to reduce the number of unsolicited phone calls you receive. Share this information with others, including friends, family, elderly individuals, neighbors, and members of vulnerable communities who may not be connected to social media or have missed previous warnings in the news.