Fraud Prevention Month: Protect yourself from scams

Remember to stay vigilant when it comes to scams. Canadians lose millions of dollars to fraud each year. The best and easiest way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to educate yourself on common scams.

“It’s hard to keep up with all the different kinds of scams,” says Sergeant Chantal Arsenault from the Ottawa Police Service Fraud Unit. “But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, regardless of which scenario would-be fraudsters are using.”

When it comes to any suspicious messages, emails, texts, or calls, some things to always keep in mind are:

  • 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 think over a decision or that require you to provide personal, banking, or credit card information before you have even accepted an offer. Any reputable company will put the offer in writing and give you time to think it over.
  • 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. Taking a little time is worth the effort if it avoids you becoming a victim of fraud.
  • If you didn’t request a service, don’t accept unsolicited offers by phone, computer, or at your doorstep. Always do your homework first to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company. Be sure to get a contract with the scope of work being done, a timeline, and the fees.
  • No government agency or legitimate business will ask you to purchase gift cards or bitcoin to settle an account.
  • Be careful where you share your personal information. Over-sharing personal details, particularly on social media, can make it easier for fraudsters to make false credit applications in your name.

Find out more about common scams and learn tips to help protect yourself online at the Ottawa Police Organized Fraud Section.


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