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Scams and fraud are a real threat

Scams and fraud are a real threat

June 15, 2020

Canadians need to re-think how we combat scams and other attempts of theft, writes Peter Watson

 Scams and frauds are part of everyday life. Policing is difficult because most cases are not reported. The Canadian Anti-Fraud website is a useful source of information. Protect yourself by anticipating fraud attempts will occur against you.

As an example, two cell phone messages saying the owner’s credit card had been compromised earlier that morning and a large amount of money was taken. The instruction was to call back immediately, and a number was provided.

The cell phone owner elected to call the phone number on the credit card. Both the credit card and bank name are among the largest in our country.

The bank employee was familiar with this type of attempted fraud and assured the caller not to worry. That assurance was comforting but from a crime prevention perspective the rest of the telephone conversation was puzzling.

The bank employee was offered the phone number that the criminals had requested the cell phone owner call. The surprise response was no. The bank did not want the phone number.

I contacted the Halton Regional Police and spoke with Kevin Harvey in the fraud unit. He said a good way to combat fraud attempts is public awareness.

When specific types of fraud are continuously attempted there is an effort by police to educate the public which has had success in the past. Criminal activity in that area might decline and sometimes resurface years later.

Detective Harvey said one of the biggest obstacles at policing fraudulent activity is the lack of reporting. Most fraud attempts are not reported.

The suggestion was for citizens interested in learning more about fraud could visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

Scams and fraud attempts unfortunately are part of everyday life. Understand that you will likely be a target in the future.

Be on guard and try and protect yourself.

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