Module 7: How to protect yourself from financial fraud

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Transcript

How to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud

Narrator: How to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud

Financial fraud can happen to anyone. Be alert and take steps to protect your personal and financial information.

SMS conversation (on screen):

Guess what?! Just got an email that I won a five star cruise. All expenses paid!!

Wow! Fantastic! How lucky!

I know! I don't even remember entering the draw!

Narrator: Fraud can take many forms, such as identity theft, fake emails, or job ads.

These are all forms of financial fraud, and they all seek to obtain your personal information.

The first step in protecting yourself is prevention.

We will now discuss common types of financial fraud, tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, and what to do if you are a victim.

Financial Fraud can happen to ANYONE*

Narrator: Every year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to fraudsters.

It's easy to fall victim to scams, because fraudsters are very creative, and they come up with new ways to trick you. Technology also makes it easier for fraudsters to contact more people.

Fraudsters are not always strangers. When someone you know asks for personal information or asks you to invest in something that sounds too good to be true, be cautious; don't say yes right away.

SMS conversation (on screen):

Congratulate your BFF! I emailed back and the prize is legit. I am the grand prize winner! And.... I'm allowed a +1!!

Congrats! What are the details? Do you remember entering the draw? If you are asking, I would love to come!!!!

Types of FRAUD*

Narrator: Let's define some key terms.

Identity fraud is when a criminal steals your personal or financial information. They try to use it to access your bank accounts or to open new credit accounts in your name.

You may unknowingly provide your personal information to a fraudster over the phone, by email, or on a fake website that is made to look like a real one.

Two terms you may encounter are phishing and vishing.

Phishing is when fraudsters send you a legitimate-looking email asking for your personal information or containing a link to a website. At this website, you are asked to enter your account information.

With vishing, you may receive a telephone call or voicemail asking you to provide or confirm personal information.

No matter what type of scam or how you are contacted, there are warning signs you should look for.

The communication is from a stranger or someone you know. They are asking for personal or financial information to help with a problem.

There is a sense of urgency, so they can get your information or your money before you realize it's a scam.

They want you to move large sums of money, often through a non-traditional way, such as a wire transfer.

They ask you to keep the secret and not tell anyone about it.

Phishing emails usually begin with a generic greeting and don't use your real name;

appear to be from a financial institution or a large company you may deal with; refer to a problem with your account; include a link to what appears to be a legitimate website; have a sense of urgency.

Keep in mind that financial institutions and large companies will never notify you of a problem with your account through an unsolicited email. If you're still not sure than an email is legitimate, here's a little trick to check the validity of a link.

Point to the address with your cursor or mouse without clicking to show the URL box that indicates the web address. If it does not match the address shown in the email, it is probably a scam. When in doubt, delete the email and contact your financial institution or supplier.

Don't feel ashamed if you are a victim of fraud. Fraudsters are professional criminals. They know what to say to get people to listen or do what they want.

Here are more examples of fraud that Canadians have fallen for.

Lottery scams, claiming that you've won a prize but you need to send money to receive the money.

Money transfer scams, requesting that you move money for someone else, with a promise of big rewards.

Inheritance scams, where you are told that a long-lost relative has died and you will inherit their fortune if you help with the banking fees or transfer of funds. You will notice that all these scams require you to send money before getting your big reward.

There are also frauds related to job offers.

Let's look at a few.

Bogus job ads offers high pay for little or no work. They ask you to do the company's banking. They often promise wages in cash. They do not provide a company name or address.

For identity theft with a false job offer, scammers ask you for personal information needed by human resources in an attempt to steal your identity.

Finally, there are requests for employment fees. Sometimes you are promised a job, but only if you pay a fee for things like supplies or administration.

Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

SMS conversation (on screen):

Turns out they randomly chose me from emails they had collected. Because it is an out-of-country lottery, I have to pay duty on the prize.

Hm, that sounds weird. How much?

Only $500 and they only take credit card. The trip is valued at $10,000, so it's not that much!

Don't share your CC info until you've done some research. Sounds too good to be true.

Protect your identity and your FINANCES*

Narrator: Here are some rules to follow to avoid fraud.

Never open unsolicited email.

Never send money before getting any service.

Never share your personal information without confirming that the source of the request is legitimate.

Always protect your passwords and personal identification numbers, or your PINs, and change them on a regular basis.

When you are online, only use secure websites before transmitting personal information. Look for websites with addresses starting with "https" or a padlock image on the page. This will indicate that the information entered on these pages is probably secure.
Never share personal information when using a public internet connection, such as at an internet café or a library.

Keep your computer anti-virus software up to date.

For more tips, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's website.

ItPaysToKnow.gc.ca

If despite all these precautions you are taken in by a fraud, the first thing to do is notify your financial institutions as soon as possible. Also notify any other companies where your accounts may have been tampered with.

Inform Canada's two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. They may put a note on your file that you may have been a victim of fraud.

Report the incident to the police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Even if you didn't fall for the scam, you want the police to track these activities and warn the public so others can avoid them.

If you can, keep a written log of all activities, transactions, and interactions, including when you first noticed the fraud, what actions you took, and who you communicated with. Don't be embarrassed to admit you fell for a scam. Sharing your experience could save others from the same fate.

SMS conversation (on screen):

Okay, so I did some research, the lottery company has no address, no website and their email address is from a free email service. In short, a ghost!

WOW! It was a scam!

Yup, I should have known better from the start. As you said, it was too good to be true. Too bad, a cruise sounded so nice!

What did we LEARN?*

Narrator: To conclude, let's review what we've discussed.

There are several different types of fraud and new ones being created every day.

Fraudsters try to get you when you are most vulnerable; for example, when you are looking for a job or dealing with a financial institution.

We shared some tips to protect yourself from fraud and what to do if you are taken in by one.

Educate yourself and be alert.

I wish you financial success.

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