12.1.8 Other frauds

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Affinity fraud

Fraudsters can win your trust more easily if you're part of a group of people who share a common cause, such as a religious or social organization. Affinity fraudsters frequently are, or pretend to be, members of the group. They often enlist respected group leaders to spread the word about a scheme by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Scammers may ask investors to keep the matter quiet, as this is a "golden opportunity" they want to share only with their friends. In the end, the fraudster takes the money. Affinity fraud typically goes unreported because people have trouble believing they were ripped off by someone they trusted. This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment.

Lottery scam

"Congratulations! You've won the lottery/sweepstakes/big prize! All you have to do to claim your prize is send a small fee or tax payment." This is how scammers get you to send cash or obtain your chequing account or other financial information. Of course, the winnings never arrive. Legitimate contests don't charge fees for you to collect your prize.

Employment scams

Employment fraud happens in various ways: you are promised a job, but only if you pay a fee for processing, administration or uniforms; your identity may be stolen through fraudulent job applications; or you may be recruited for an illegal job (for example, "reshipping" stolen goods and sending them overseas). Employment fraudsters often ask for personal information like your Social Insurance Number. Give out only the minimum information required until you are sure the organization is legitimate.

Real estate fraud

There are two main types of real estate fraud. Title fraud starts with identity theft. Then the fraudster uses your identity to take the title of the property and sell the home or get a new mortgage. Once the money from the sale or new mortgage is advanced, the fraudster leaves with the money. Foreclosure fraud may occur if you are having difficulty making mortgage payments and are facing foreclosure. The scammer offers you a loan in exchange for up-front fees and an agreement to transfer the property title to him or her. However, the criminal keeps all of your payments and ignores your bills and taxes. In the end, you may lose the home and still be in debt.

Charity fraud

Many charities are legitimate, but scammers also solicit funds for fake charities, usually on the telephone or door-to-door. To be safe, contact the charity yourself, or check with Canada Revenue Agency to make sure the organization is a registered charity.

Consumer fraud

"A pill that can cure diabetes!" "A revolutionary new software program that will help you earn thousands of dollars at home!" "Get low prices on pre-paid renovations!” You send in your money, and the product or service either doesn't arrive, or it doesn't deliver the promised benefits. Check that a business has a real history and a good track record before sending money.

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