Preventing Fraud

Avoiding Fraud

Security Concept

With online purchases, the availability of financial information online, and the mass of payments to keep track of, it’s easy to let something slip between the cracks. Older folks are often targeted for financial fraud – so it’s good to stay aware and informed to protect yourself.

Here are some ways to help avoid fraud.

1. Always Know Who You’re Sending Money To

If you’re dealing with a company you’re not familiar with, make sure you know it’s real. Find an address (that isn’t a PO box address), and look for reviews online from other customers. Do a little critical thinking. Are there a substantial number of people who have had bought products from the company? Are they providing genuine reviews? The more established the company appears to be online, the more likely it is that they are a legitimate business.

2. Be Sure To Read Your Bank and Credit Card Statements
Scammers may use your financial information, and additionally merchants may charge you for fees you never agreed to. A example maybe an organization charging membership fees once your contract has ended. If you spot an inconsistency, let your bank know right away.

3. Never Feel Pressured to Sign up to a Contract
Never feel pressured to sign a contract or buy a product, even if it is a “limited time offer”. These pressure tactics are often used to get people to skip the fine print or make a decision they wouldn’t normally make. Consider bring in a relative or friend to help you figure out if what you’re signing up to is really what you need. At the very least, give it some thinking time – away from the salesperson.
4. Avoid Wiring Money
Many scammers ask you to wire money as the transaction is very nearly impossible to reverse. Sending a wire transfer is like sending cash. Another flag would be if someone asks for you to wire money in exchange for a cheque. If a cheque is a fake, it can take a few days or more for the bank to uncover it. By that time your money is long gone.

5. Read Up On Recent Scams that Might Affect You
The more we know, the better we can protect ourselves. Some common scams include:
Impersonators of financial institutions requesting passwords or personal information. If you have suspicions, call your bank to clarify or report the email. Financial institutions will never ask for such information through email.
Emails from unknown organizations promising big cash, travel or other sorts of enticing prizes.
The “grandparent scam”: A scammer will call impersonating a grandchild and ask for a large sum of money. Many times, the scammer will begin by asking “Grandma, do you know who this is?” , and the victim will provide one of their children’s names, thinking the scammer is the victim.
If you experience anything you think is fraud related activity, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre :