Invisible predators: How to protect yourself from scammers, cold-callers, and fraudsters.

Sidney North Saanich, Crime Prevention

2021-11-02 11:05 PDT

File # 2021-5321

Invisible predators: How to protect yourself from scammers, cold-callers, and fraudsters.

 

In today's age, we depend on our computers and smart phones for many of our daily tasks. A growing concern within our community is the prevalence of those who look to take advantage of us through the internet and over the phone. As a police officer, I have seen the direct effect that both cybercrime and telephone fraud have on members of our community. The best way to keep yourself from falling victim to these fraudsters is to become educated on some of the tactics which are being used, warns Corporal Andres Sanchez of the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP. In 2020, the Anti-Fraud Centre of Canada recorded a total of 42,185 victims in Canada which equated to an estimated total of 106 million dollars scammed from Canadians. In 2021, this number is expected to be higher.

The tactics used by fraudsters come in many forms and they can sound very convincing to those they prey upon. Fraudsters may contact you through your email, text messages, social media, or through telephone calls. In some common scenarios we are seeing, the fraudster will use intimidation such as pretending to be an authority figure from the Canada Revenue Agency or the Canadian Border Service Agency. They may even tell you will be arrested unless you pay a fee. In other scenarios the fraudster will promise you prizes, great wealth, vacations, or cars if you first pay some underlying hidden fee. said Corporal Sanchez.

Here are some of the tips that we give from the Anti-Fraud Centre when we receive these reports:

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Don't be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics. If a telemarketer tries to get you to buy something or to send them money right away:

Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.

  1. Do your research.

Always verify that the organization you're dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action:

If you've received a call or other contact from a family member in trouble, talk to other family members to confirm the situation.

Watch out for fake or deceptive ads, or spoofed emails. Always verify the company and its services are real before you contact them.

  1. Don't give out personal information.

Beware of unsolicited calls where the caller asks you for personal information, such as:

If you didn't initiate the call, you don't know who you're talking to.

  1. Beware of upfront fees.

Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services, or a prize. It's illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they'll give you a loan.

There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it's free.

  1. Protect your computer.

Watch out for urgent-looking messages that pop up while you're browsing online. Don't click on them or call the number they provide.

No legitimate company will call and claim your computer is infected with a virus.

Some websites, such as music, game, movie, and adult sites, may try to install viruses or malware without your knowledge. Watch out for emails with spelling and formatting errors, and be wary of clicking on any attachments or links. They may contain viruses or spyware.

Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep your operating system up to date.

Never give anyone remote access to your computer. If you are having problems with your system, bring it to a local technician.

  1. Protect your online accounts.

By taking the following steps, you can better protect your online accounts from fraud and data breaches:

If in doubt, ask a friend or family member for their opinion or feel free to call your local RCMP detachment for assistance. Additional information can be obtained through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

If you have been the victim of fraud, please contact your local police and/or report the event online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Released by

Cpl. Andres Sanchez Flores

Media Relations Officer
Sidney North Saanich RCMP
sidney.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Office: 250-656-3931
Fax: 250-656-8139

Email: andres.sanchez@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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