Scams. fraud costs Canadians millions

NANAIMO – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received nearly 39,000 complaints about mass marketing fraud.

“This investment will give you high returns with little or no risk – guaranteed.” “Act now, tomorrow will be too late.” “Don’t tell anyone else – then everyone will know about this loophole.”

If you have heard any of these sales pitches, you should beware – they are a few common signs of scams or other forms of fraud.

In 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received nearly 39,000 complaints about mass marketing fraud, which cost Canadians more than $53 million. In addition, 17,000 cases of identity fraud or identity theft cost victims more than $16 million.

In many cases, victims are too embarrassed to report fraud or even tell their family and friends they’ve been scammed. This only makes it easier for fraudsters to scam new victims.

It’s time to do something about it. March is Fraud Prevention Month, and learning how to spot a possible fraud is one of the most effective ways to keep us all safe.

To avoid becoming a victim of fraud:

* Don’t share personal information freely.

* Destroy documents with personal information.

* Keep your wallet or purse safe.

* Don’t carry ID you don’t need such as your Social Insurance Number.

* Lock your household mailbox if possible.

* Check your credit report once a year (you can order it for free).

* Make sure websites are secure before transmitting personal information.

* Delete emails that ask for personal information.

* Keep computer firewalls and spyware filters up to date.

* Keep your computer passwords safe.

* Be skeptical – if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

* Save paper bank records for at least a year.

If you find you have been scammed, report it. Keeping it a secret only makes it easier for scammers to defraud more victims.

For more information, please visit www.itpaystoknow.gc.ca.