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Fighting Fraud

Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes – from an email claiming to be from the Government of Canada to a phone call demanding immediate payment. While many fraudsters are trying to steal your money, some may be trying to collect enough personal information to steal your identity. Since fraudsters continue to find more sophisticated ways of tricking Canadians out of their money, it’s vital that you stay informed on how you can fight fraud and keep yourself, your family, and your money safe. After all, knowledge is power.
Watch for red flags
Learn to recognize the signs that something is wrong. Here are a few common red flags to watch for:

  1. Spelling mistakes

Be skeptical of emails, messages or websites with misspelled words, grammatical errors, or incorrectly used expressions. Be sure to examine email and web addresses for subtle mistakes or differences.

  1. Requests for personal information

Fraudsters may ask for more personal or financial information than is required. Be suspicious if someone asks for your name, address, birth date, social insurance number (SIN), banking information, etc., especially if you did not initiate the conversation and don’t know the requestor.

  1. Unsolicited calls

Suppose you get a phone call from someone claiming your computer has a virus, you owe taxes, or fraudulent activity has been detected in your bank accounts. Understand that legitimate organizations will not call you directly. If unsure, hang up and call the organization using the number from a trustworthy source like their website or invoices and account statements.
Be aware of new tech support scams
In January 2023, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received reports of a new variation of tech support scams1. Fraudsters send their victims emails with fake invoices declaring that a subscription has been renewed for an antivirus, tech, or internet support service. The email provides a phone number to call for service cancellation. When the victim calls, the fraudster requests remote access to their device and seeks personal or financial information to steal. Never give an unknown person remote access to your device; always verify that the service provider’s contact information is legitimate. Visit the CAFC’s website to learn about other common service scams.
What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Do not let high-pressure sales tactics intimidate you. If a telemarketer wants you to buy something or send them money immediately, ask for information in writing or hang up.

  • Always verify that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate before you do anything they ask you.

  • If you receive a call that a family member is in trouble, be sure to speak with that individual or other family members to confirm the situation.

  • Know what to expect when the Canada Revenue Agency contacts you.

  • Beware of urgent messages and do not click on any links or call the provided phone number.

  • Install antivirus software on your computer and keep your operating system up to date.

  • Create strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts and enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

  • Avoid public computers or Wi-Fi networks to access personal information; they put you at risk.

  • When shopping online, ensure the website is secure – look for “https” and a closed padlock symbol at the beginning of the URL.

  • Anyone can be targeted, so if it does happen to you, the best thing to do is report the fraud to the appropriate authorities. You should also warn your loved ones of any scams you come across. Don’t be embarrassed; you will be helping others from falling for it.

Review your insurance coverage
Having identity theft protection as part of your home insurance policy can help if your identity is stolen. It covers expenses related to restoring your identity, a case worker to guide you through the process, 24/7 credit bureau monitoring, and some financial loss incurred. If you want to learn more or add identity theft coverage to your existing home insurance policy, speak with an OTIP broker at 1-833-615-9329.

  1. Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Related articles: Learn how to protect benefits fraud – and protect your plan and Helping to prevent benefits fraud

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