Everything you need to know about scams in 2021 and how to stay protected!

March 31, 2021

Scammers have become sneakier than ever before. They target everyone from youngsters, tech savvy adults, retirees, and businesses. Unfortunately, no one is immune to falling victim of fraud, but there are things that everyone can put in place to try to avoid it. One of the ways is to be in the know of current scams and fraudulent activities going on in our communities.

The most common Scams facing Canadians today are:
Libro owner sits on coach typing on a laptop

Online Banking Scams

This can include everything from phishing, virus attacks, western union money transfers, online banking takeovers and more. Fraudsters know that online banking is becoming more and more common among Canadians and are looking to capitalize on that.

What can you do to protect yourself:

  1. Monitor your online banking account daily. Getting in this habit will ensure you notice any unusual or suspicious activity. Be sure to activate your online banking alerts, most financial institutions have this online banking feature.
  2. Activate 2 step verification or any enhanced security features.

Avoid clicking on any unexpected links or attachments through text, email and social media.
Libro owner sending an e-transfer from a mobile phone while outdoors at a park

Intercepted e-Transfers

This happens when your email or phone is compromised, and a fraudster can access your Interac e-Transfer notification. From here the fraudster can answer the security password and deposit the funds.

What can you do to protect yourself:

  1. Ensure passwords you use are not easily guessed by others.
  2. Passwords shouldn’t include information that can be found on social media.
  3. The answer to the password shouldn’t be included in the e- Transfer message or sent to the recipient using the same method as the e-Transfer is sent.
  4. Autodeposit is also a great tool to prevent intercepted e – Transfers since a password is not required and the funds are deposited directly into the recipients account.
A suspicious character enters credit card numbers on a computer

Identity Theft

Identity Theft typically has the biggest negative impact. If the fraudster gets a hold of your ID, many things can be done:
– Order new credit cards
– Open online accounts
– Apply for loans
– Online banking

What can you do to protect yourself:

  1. Don’t give out your personal information to anyone.
  2. Only carry identification on your person that you need.
  3. If you loose your wallet, call your provider immediately.
Person sits in front of a laptop, while holding phone, sending a wire transfer

Wire Fraud

This is becoming more common as these types of payments are easy to send and fraudsters know what information you need to send them the money. This is common with deals on the internet and purchasing a supply that never comes.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Know the person you are sending the information too.
  2. Ask them questions!
  3. Do not share your banking information with someone you don’t know.
  4. Trust your gut, if it doesn’t make sense to send this person money, listen to your instincts.
Hand reaching out a smart phone to pay for a transaction

Card Skimming

This refers to the electronic capture of data off a debit or credit cards magnetic stripe. Withdrawals and purchases can be completed by fraudsters using a duplicated card.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Using the flash and chip technology mitigates the risk of card skimming.
  2. Never share your card or pin number with anyone.
  3. Protect your pin number at ATM’s and point of sale terminals.
  4. Reminder to re-pin your card frequently.
Sitting on the floor, leaning against a couch, a person types on a laptop

Cheque Overpayment Scam

These types of scams involve someone saying they will send you money for completing a service like being a mystery shopper, internet shopper or if you are selling an item. Funds will be sent by cheque with a request to return a portion of the funds due to the cheque being for the wrong amount or you will be asked to use the funds to pay a shipping company. The cheque will later be returned fraudulent.

How you can protect yourself?

  1. Do not accept payment for more than the agreed price.
  2. Speak with your financial institution prior to making the deposit or sending funds.
Person looking at their phone while sitting in front of a laptop

Romance Scams

This scam happens when there is a relationship that has developed online. The scammer will appear to be romantically interested and then will ask for you to send them money. They may say that they are in financial trouble, they want to come and visit you and need money for travel, they need help with a business expense, etc.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Don’t send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
  2. Never share your financial information or online banking information.
  3. Ensure the site you are using is legitimate (i.e.: dating site or app).
  4. Be suspicious of anyone that develops deep feelings very quickly.
  5. Ask questions and talk to your financial institution before sending money.
Person takes a call on a mobile phone while outside

CRA Scams

These scammers will pretend to be members of the Canadian government claiming that you owe them money and they will pursue legal action if you don’t pay them. The Canadian Government will never call you to ask you to send them money through e-Transfer, Western Union Money Transfers, gift cards, bitcoin or credit cards.

What you can you do to protect yourself:

  1. Never send them money, it is never legitimate.
  2. Contact the CRA using the phone number on their website or in a local phone book.
Grandparent holds child up high while in the garden

Grandparent/Emergency Scams

The scammer will call someone pretending to be their grandchild, family member or someone calling on their behalf. Typically, these calls will come in the middle of the night and the caller will state they are in serious trouble and they need money immediately.

What you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Do not disclose the name of your grandchildren or family member you believe to be calling, ask who is calling or who they are calling for.
  2. Hang up
  3. If you feel that the call is real, contact other family members or call the location they state to be at (i.e.: hospital).

By Meredith Bouckley