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Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Protect Yourself Against Fraud

May 4, 2020

Canadians are being targeted and they should protect themselves, writes Peter Watson

Have you been scammed yet? If not, it’s just a matter of time. Fraud attempts include CRA scams, request from a romantic partner, identity theft, and bogus investment schemes.

Just under half of all Canadians have either been scammed or know someone that has.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, $96 million of infractions occurred in 2019. It suspects this could only be five per cent of the total.

This extremely low number of reported cases is due to victims feeling too ashamed, foolish, and embarrassed to report the crime.

Scams can come by phone, email, text, and social media.

Fraudsters posing as tax collectors from the Canadian Revenue Agency using high-pressure tactics threaten people to respond immediately by sending money.

Some are romantic frauds. Criminals instigate a relationship, earn the trust of their new partner, then come up with a bogus story requesting a financial loan or gift.

The Ontario Securities Commission alerts investors to be cautious if high pressure investment offerings include high returns with guarantees. Something the OSC refers to “as too good to be true”.

Identity theft is also a risk. CTV News reports that eight per cent of Torontonians have been a victim of this type of fraud.

Interact has reported that almost two in five have clicked the link from an unknown source. Over a half of people do not change their online passwords regularly.

People do not take proactive steps to protect themselves. Puzzling because 62 per cent are more concerned about fraud than ever before.

Criminals are becoming more creative and exploiting all possible avenues of stealing your money. Theft is not new. Current tactics are and we all have to learn to protect ourselves.

When it comes to our collective battle against these types of crimes, authorities encourage two things. Reject attempts of fraud against you. And report any such activity to police.

Peter Watson, of Watson Investments MBA, CFP®, R.F.P., CIM®, FCSI offers a weekly financial planning column, Dollars & Sense. He can be contacted through www.watsoninvestments.com