March Is Fraud Prevention Month
Strathcona County, Alta. – Fraud Prevention Month is an annual public awareness campaign held in March that works to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by helping them "Recognize it. Report it. Stop it."
Thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Fraud targets Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life and recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself.
Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:
- Developing professional-looking marketing materials;
- Providing believable answers for your tough questions;
- Impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and various causes;
- Pretending to be your ordinary supplier;
- Hiding the true details in the fine print;
- Preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment;
- Asking for fees in advance of promised services;
- Threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts;
- Falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services and
- Exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.
The following tips, obtained from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center will help you fight fraud.
- Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase;
- Be extra cautious about calls, e-mails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential;
- Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection;
- Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company;
- Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company;
- Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate;
- Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns;
- Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
If you have not lost money but suspect you have been targeted, contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.
If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741