One in three Canadians will fall victim to at least one type of fraud, according to the CPA Canada 2021 Fraud Study. The good news is that 62% of survey respondents say they are doing more to avoid becoming victims of a scam. The RaeLipskie Partnership wants to ensure you’re protected and savvy when it comes to spotting financial fraud and scams.
March is fraud prevention month, so we’re sharing five key fraud prevention tips and current scams to look out for:
Be cautious with personal information
Think twice before sharing your personal information. Your name, address, birthdate, social insurance number and banking information should not be shared with people or businesses you don’t know. Fraudsters have the ability to use this sensitive information to target your finances or even steal your identity.
Tip: Before sharing any sensitive information online, ensure there’s a padlock icon on the left side of your web browser. This means the website you’re viewing is secure.
Protect your passwords
One of the easiest ways to enhance your bank account security is to use unique and complex passwords for all of your accounts. When creating a password, it’s important to avoid using simple, easy-to-guess passwords. A strong password consists of a minimum of 8 characters, mixed letters, numbers and special symbols. Remember to change your passwords regularly and keep them stored securely by writing them down or using a password management tool.
Tip: For added security to your online accounts, set up two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection.
Avoid unknown numbers
Phone scams are still one of the most common types of fraud. Scammers use phone calls to illegally acquire money and personal information. Phone scams come in many forms, such as “spoofing”. This is the act of falsifying the information that appears on the Caller ID display, to convince the target they are interacting with a trusted source. This makes it extremely important not to give out personal information if you don’t initiate the call.
Tip: Avoid answering phone calls from unknown numbers. Sending them directly to voicemail will ensure you don’t miss anything important.
Monitor your transactions
Another way to protect against fraud and theft is to frequently review your bank statements and credit card transactions for any illegitimate activity. Going paperless makes it easy to view your statements online while minimizing the risk of identity theft. If you don’t recognize a transaction on your account, it’s important to report it to your bank and put a freeze on your credit card.
Tip: For peace of mind, you can set up transaction alerts on your bank accounts to stay informed and monitor activity.
Stay informed about financial fraud and scams
Educating yourself about the different types of fraud and scams can help you avoid becoming a victim. Fraud can be difficult to detect, but can often leave a devastating impact on someone’s life or business. Understanding the severity of fraud can help you stay alert and make better decisions.
Scammers are always coming up with new ways to separate people from their money. The following are some current scams to be aware of:
ArriveCan is the official Government of Canada platform and is free and secure. It’s used to provide mandatory information for people arriving in Canada. If you encounter a third party web page or app that appears to be posing as ArriveCan, report this to the Canadian Anti-Fraud centre immediately.
CERB and CESB repayment scams
Be cautious of fraudulent texts, calls and emails about paying the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The Canadian Government will not reach out to you via text or email asking you to apply for these benefits or to notify you about a payment.
COVID-19 vaccines scams
The only way to access safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines is through authorized clinics endorsed by your local public health authority. To avoid Covid-19 scams, look out for the following warning signs:
- You’re asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine
- You’re asked to pay for early access to the vaccine
- Avoid advertisements for vaccines from any unsolicited/unknown sources
- Do not share your personal or financial information with anyone claiming to be vaccinators
Phone, email and mail scams
Beware of messages from sources claiming to be government services. This could be a fraudulent attempt to gain access to your personal and financial information. The Government of Canada provides some helpful guidelines to identify fake calls, texts, emails and mail.
Anyone can become the victim of a fraudulent crime or scam. It’s important to take necessary steps to ensure you stay aware and protected. If you have any questions or concerns about the security of your personal or financial data, contact us here. The RaeLipskie Partnership is here to help.
If you think you’re a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud centre.