March is Fraud Prevention Month: Avoid being a victim by taking an active role in protecting yourself
March 1, 2019
By Lucie Tedesco, Commissioner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
This week marks the start of the 15th annual Fraud Prevention Month. It is a good time to make sure you are protecting yourself and those close to you against financial scams and abuse.
Everyone is vulnerable – young and old alike. After all, fraudsters lurk around every corner and are more sophisticated than ever! They sift through your garbage. They go through your social media posts. And they hack into your computers. They are particularly good at getting their hands on your debit and credit card numbers. They then employ a range of methods to use them without your permission.
Unfortunately, fraud will happen, so it’s important that you take an active role in staying safe by understanding your financial responsibilities. For example, did you know that if you share your credit or debit card personal identification number (PIN) with anyone, even your spouse, you may not benefit from a reimbursement in case of fraud?
It is also important to know the many factors that can make a person more susceptible to being a victim of fraud. They include cognitive decline and social isolation, which are both common as we age. If someone close to you is in this situation, such as a grandparent, talk to them about their finances. You may learn they are experiencing financial abuse. Someone may have pressured them into giving away their money. This type of abuse among seniors is not only common, but frequently goes unreported.
At FCAC, we take fraud prevention seriously. Throughout the month of March, we will put a spotlight on different types of financial fraud, including debit and credit card fraud, data breaches and the risks associated with financial technology apps, and real estate fraud.
If you come across something you find especially helpful, share it with your friends and family, as well as through your own social networks. Being scammed can be a very stressful experience. It’s therefore important that we support each other.
Remember that an informed consumer is a fraudster’s worse enemy, and that understanding your financial rights and responsibilities means no surprises at the end of the day.
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