Recognize it! Top ten scams to watch out for.

Posted in Your rights

It’s still March! Which means it’s still Fraud Prevention Month here in Canada. I recently saw a report by Global News that talked about the top ten scams to watch out for this month. Scams can come in all sorts of forms, so be on the look out to make sure you don’t become a victim this year. Equifax Canada suggests fraud accounts for 54 per cent of all cybercrimes reported to police, citing Statistics Canada data. Plus, Equifax reports that fraud-related crime costs Canada between $15-billion and $30-billion annually.

The following ten scams are believed to be the most pervasive of them all over the last year, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). So be sure to keep a close eye on these scams in particular.

  1. Arrest scam: This trick starts with a call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent (often the CRA in Canada) who say they are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes or for skipping out on jury duty. They claim you can get out of it by sending them money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
  2. Tech support scam: A call or pop-up ad on your computer claims to be from Microsoft / Norton / Apple about a problem on your computer and asking you to give “tech support” access to your hard drive in order to fix it. Instead, malware is installed on your computer and the scammers can steal your personal information.
  3. “Are you calling yourself?” scam: This trick puts your number in so it shows up on your own Caller ID, which causes many people to answer the phone or return the call.
  4. Copycat website scam: Scammers send an email, text or social media post about a sale or exciting new product, linking to a website that looks like a legitimate retailer. After you order using your credit card, you get a cheap counterfeit product or nothing at all.
  5. Medical alert scam: This involves a call or a visit from a “company” claiming a concerned family member has ordered you a medical alert device in case of an emergency. The scammer takes credit card or banking information, but never delivers the device.
  6. Emergency or “grandparent” scam –Often preying on older people, a scammer poses as a relative in a call or email claiming to have been injured, robbed or arrested while traveling overseas. They ask their target to send money right away.
  7. Government grant scam –Another one that requests fees so you can collect a government grant award for thousands of dollars. It may mention programs you’ve heard in the news.
  8. Robocall scam –This scam takes personal information like your credit card number, after promising to lower your credit card interest rates, but then charges fees to your card.
  9. Click bait scam –Scammers use “click bait” such as news stories, celebrity photos, or fake news in order to get you to click on something that actually downloads malware that can harm your computer.
  10. Sweepstakes scam –This one has been around for years: You get a message saying you’ve won a contest, lottery or sweepstakes event. Then you’re asked to pay fees or taxes in advance in order to claim your prize.

Source: Erika Tucker, Global News

To keep up to date with more great tips you can follow along all month long using the #FPM2015 hashtag on Twitter.