Toronto, ON – March is Fraud Prevention Month and Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. wants to help ensure Canadians are educated and aware of this ever growing crime.
Among the fastest growing crimes in Canada, more than 46,500 individuals reported being victims of identity theft and fraud last year; with fraudsters and thieves stealing more than 63 million from unsuspecting consumers.
“Fraud and identity theft are among the fastest growing crimes in Canada, and the financial impact on individuals, families and businesses can be devastating” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit. “Victims can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their good name.”
The fact is criminals are always going to find new and creative ways to access the personal information of Canadians. By using your name, date of birth, credit card, Social Insurance Number or other personal information, savvy criminals can open credit card and bank accounts, redirect mail, establish cell phone services, rent vehicles and even secure employment – resulting in devastating losses for those that fall victim.
That’s why it’s important for consumers to know how to recognize a fraud scam before it’s too late.
Too good to be true – These scams often involve emails or phone calls that seem too good to be true. You’ve just won the big prize in a contest that you don’t recall entering; you’re offered a once-in-a-lifetime investment with huge return; or you’re entitled to an inheritance from a long-lost relative.
Pay for your prize – You receive a phone call, email or letter claiming “You’re a Winner”, but only if you agree to send money in order to pay for delivery, processing, taxes, and duties. In most cases there is no prize, and no way to get your money back.
Over excitement – If the caller is more excited than you, it’s probably a scam. Crooks want you to be excited so that you won’t be able to think clearly.
Speaking to the manager – This tactic is used by many scammers in an effort to bully consumers into giving them what they want. They claim to be a person of authority, use your first name, and ask a lot of seemingly personal questions.
A special opportunity – Any legitimate business or charity is going to give you time to think about the opportunity and research the organization. Fraudsters will use pressure tactics to try and get you to make the purchase or decision immediately.
These are just a few of the ways criminals will try to manipulate and pressure Canadians into parting with their personal information and hard-earned money. Thankfully, a little education and knowledge is all it takes for consumers to protect themselves from Identity Theft and Fraud.
For more information or to request an interview with Jeffrey Schwartz, please contact:
Kylie-Anne Doerner, Communications & Public Relations Manager, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. (B) 416.915.7283 ext. 1057 (C) 289.231.7900 or [email protected].