by Cst. Meighan Massey, Sidney North Saanich RCMP –
Frauds can originate from many different areas of your life, from the stranger knocking on the door to offer cheap trades work; a grandchild borrowing your debit card; a caller offering a fabulous deal that’s too good to share with anyone else; or a few new charges on your credit card that you did not incur.
Here in our community we have a large demographic from what is considered the “greatest generation:” people who remember when your word was your bond and a handshake meant something. Unfortunately, this also means that this is a target-rich environment for people looking to take advantage of that integrity and trust.
To reduce your risk of becoming a victim of fraud, keep the following tips in mind:
• Keep your personal and banking information safe. Store it in a secure place and try to ensure that all incoming money is done via direct deposit to reduce the chances of a cheque being stolen from your mailbox.
• Do not share any information such as a credit card or Social Insurance number over the phone unless YOU initiated the call.
• Never do anyone a “favour” which involves moving money in and out of your bank account.
• Place a flag on your profile with Equifax and TransUnion to ensure that any new credit applications in your name result in a call being made to you directly, ensuring you are the actual applicant.
• If the offer seems too good to be true, IT IS. Be suspicious; ask questions. Don’t be rushed into a decision. Take the time to research the company offering you such a good deal. Check the Better Business Bureau. Google them. Talk to someone you trust.
• If anything must remain secret then it is a fraud. This is an isolation technique. No business passes up free positive advertising.
• All charities must be registered under the Income Tax Act; ask for their registration number.
• No legitimate business or government agency takes payment in the form of Apple iTunes cards or Google Play cards.
• Do not allow manners to get in the way. It’s OK to tell the person at your door “no thank you” and then close the door. It’s okay to hang up the phone on a pushy person who won’t stop trying to build rapport with you.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about if you have fallen victim to a fraudulent scheme. Please remember that talking you out of your money is their job. If you think you have been the victim of a fraud please contact your bank and let them know so they can put safeguards in place to protect your money. Then report the incident to the Sidney North Saanich RMCP at 250-656-3931.