Each year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to fraud. Educating yourself on common scams is the easiest way to prevent being a victim.
“It’s hard to keep up with all the different kinds of scams,” said Sergeant Jamie Ritchie from the Ottawa Police Service Fraud Unit. “But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, regardless of the specific scenario.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you to have time to think over a decision or require you to provide personal, banking or credit card information without checking into the offer further,” advised Sgt. Ritchie.
- If you didn’t request a service, don’t accept unsolicited offers by phone or on your door step. “Do your research first to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.”
- Do your due diligence. Check companies with the Better Business Bureau, ask for references and visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to find out about the latest scams and where they are active. “Get quotes in writing,” adds Sgt. Ritchie.
- No government agency or legitimate business will ask you to purchase gift cards or bitcoin in order to settle an account.
- Be careful where you share your personal information and how much information you share on social media. “Identity theft is prevalent and can lead to false credit applications in your name,” says Sgt. Ritchie.
Common scams like home improvement scams, identity theft, mass marketing scams, elder fraud and on-line sales and tips to help you protect yourself, will be profiled during Fraud Prevention Month. Follow us on twitter @FraudOttawa, where the Ottawa Police will be hosting a live Q&A session every Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm.