The spirit of the holidays is a time of giving for most, but for scammers it is a time of taking. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre shared the most popular holiday scams to help prevent fraud by recognizing the scam, reject the money, and report it to authorities.
• Counterfeit merchandise — Huge and flashy discount ads will direct you to websites that look like the legitimate manufacturers. If you do receive any inferior product, they could pose significant health risks.
• Selling goods and services online — If you are selling, be suspicious of payment offers that are more than the asking price. Wait and confirm that you have received a legitimate payment before you send the product.
• Crypto investments — Prior to investing, ask for information on the investment. Research the company. Verify if the company is registered by using the National Registration Tool (www.aretheyregistered.ca)
• Romance scams — An attractive fake identity lures you into their web of lies spun with loving messages and sweet promises. The fraudsters play on your emotions to maximize their payday over time.
• Online shopping — Fraudsters pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for items that do not exist. The listing price for almost any item is usually low and the item could be anything such as e.g. event ticket, rental, vehicle, and puppy. Research before you buy. Whenever possible, exchange goods in person or use your credit card for payment.
• Phishing emails and texts — You may receive messages claiming to be from a recognizable source (e.g. financial institution, telecommunications company) asking you to submit or confirm your information. They often include a fake link. Never click a link from a non verified source.
Secret Santa — You may notice multiple gift exchange posts on your social media feeds. Unfortunately, this exchange collects some of your personal information and also hides a pyramid scheme where only those on top profit. Pyramid schemes are illegal in Canada.
• Prize notifications — You may receive a letter or a call with the good news — you’ve won millions! First, they will ask you to confirm your personal information and then cover a few fees before your winnings can be delivered. Remember: If you didn’t enter, you can’t win. In Canada, if there are fees associated to a prize, they are removed from the total winnings. You would never be required to pay fees in advance.
• Emergency — Is a supposed loved one reaching out to you because they need money now and you’re the only one they trust to keep it a secret? Resist the urge to act immediately and verify the person’s identity by asking questions a stranger wouldn’t know. Theit account could be hacked or someone could be impersonating them.
• Gift cards — Gift cards are not meant for payments and no legitimate business or organization will request these, especially under pressure.
Identity theft – Keep your wallet on you and cover your PIN when using your card. Don’t share passwords or provide your personal information on impulse.
• Identity fraud — Fraudsters love a good shopping spree, especially when they’re using someone else’s name and money. Contact your financial institutions and the credit bureaus, Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, if you see suspicious activity on your financial statements, unauthorized activity on your credit report, letters approving or declining credit applications you didn’t authorize, rerouted mail, bills from service providers you don’t use or your information was compromised as part of a database breach.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
This article was originally sourced by www.thestar.com.