Friday, March 2, 2012

Fraud Prevention!

March is fraud prevention month! So it's very important that we all recognize it, report it, and ultimately stop it. Did you know that offences related to fraud are approximately $10 - $30 billion per year in Canada? That's right up there with drug related offenses. Fraud is really taking over and more and more people are becoming victims of fraud.

The top two scams of the week are the Anti-Virus Scam and the Emergency or Grandparent Scam.

Anti-Virus Scam
I am sure you've come across this scam. This is where you get a warning that your computer has been infected by a virus and you need to take action NOW! I actually received a phone call last week telling me the same thing. I knew it was fraud when they couldn't even tell me what kind of computer I had. These fraudsters cold call as many people they can and tell them they have a virus on their computer and if they would like the virus to be removed. If you say yes, they will offer to install software to get rid of the virus, or they may ask for remote access to your computer to fix it. They will then ask for your credit card number for payment for the software or for repair service. Once you allow these fraudsters access to your computer, they obtain your user names, bank account information, passwords and other personal information about you. Never give remote access to your computer to anyone, and never give your credit card number to a stranger.

Here are some additional indicators from the anti-fraud center site that you should be aware of:
• Unsolicited calls representing a computer repair‐company
• Urgent solicitation indicating there is a threat to your computer
• Credit card charges in amounts ranging from $35.00 to $469.00
• Credit card charges from foreign banks

Emergency or Grandparent Scam
I remember hearing about this scam many years ago. Unfortunately it is still happening. A grandparent receives a call from a fraudster pretending to be their grandchild. The fraudster tells the grandparent a sob story indicating that he needs help. They use a variety of different stories, from needing bail money, to being in a car accident and needing taxi money to get home, to being in a foreign country and needing money to get home. Whatever story they tell the grandparent revolves around the grandparent sending the fraudster money immediately. The fraudster always asks the grandparent not to tell any family members because they are embarrassed. The grandparent sends the money, because what grandparent do you know wants to see their grandchild suffer. None! Of course the grandparent doesn't verify the truth until it's too late. They've already been scammed.

Please pass this information on to your loved ones. Especially your grandparents and your parents that have grandchildren.

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