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Fraud Awareness Month: How to Protect Yourself from Fraud

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March is Fraud Awareness Month and with it comes a perfect time to refresh your tactics to protect yourself from fraud. With fraud continuing to increase year over year, and the advent of AI in the mix, it’s never been more important to protect yourself and your family from potential life changing scams.  In this blog post we’ve compiled our most important tips to keep yourself safe at all times.

Don’t Be Pressured

One of any fraudsters favourite tactic is to use urgency and pressure to rush you into a decision before you can properly vet its legitimacy.

  • Stay alert for high-pressure sales strategies and never accept anything before doing your due diligence.
  • Remember to NEVER make impulsive choices. If you feel pressured with phrases like “act now” or “don’t miss out,” red flags should immediately go up, as it’s likely a scam.
  • Always, insist on receiving all details in written form for your review.
  • If a telemarketer pressures you to make immediate purchases or payments, simply hang up the call.
  • Be cautious of emotional appeals that manipulate your feelings and prompt urgent action. Remember, fraudsters love to pull on heart strings in an attempt to pull open your wallet.

Protect Your Personal Information

Exercise extreme caution before divulging personal details online or during phone conversations.

Be very cautious of unexpected calls requesting personal information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Birthdate
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Credit card or banking information

Unless you made the call, such as to your bank, remain wary of the identity of the caller. Avoid sharing personal information on social media platforms. Dispose of financial statements, credit card offers, and any documents containing personal information by shredding them before disposal.

Secure Your Online Accounts

To ensure the best protection of your online accounts against fraud and data breaches, activate the following measures:

  • Always use strong and unique passwords to safeguard your online accounts. Avoid easily guessable information such as birthdates or names.
  • Employ different passwords for various websites, accounts, and devices to prevent widespread compromise if one account is breached.
  • Ensure that your home Wi-Fi network is password-protected to stop unauthorized access.
  • Enhance security by enabling multi-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of defense for your accounts.
  • Only access your accounts from trusted sources to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Keep your computer, smartphone, and other devices up-to-date with the latest security patches to address vulnerabilities.
  • Exercise caution when using public networks, as data transmitted through open wireless networks in public spaces can be vulnerable to interception.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious emails to mitigate the risk of malware and phishing attacks.

Conduct Proper Investigations

  • Remember to always  confirm the identity of individuals or organizations reaching out to you.
  • Before committing to any investment, conduct thorough research to validate the legitimacy of both the investment opportunity and the parties involved. This is especially true for anyone reaching out to you regarding crypto currency investments as almost all of these are scams.
  • If an opportunity appears excessively lucrative, cross-check the details with an unbiased source such as a registered financial adviser, lawyer, or accountant. If they cannot corroborate it, exercise extreme caution as something is likely amiss.
  • Authenticate Canadian charities through the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Validate collection agencies through the relevant provincial agency.
  • Utilize online resources to find contact information for the company initiating contact, and independently verify by calling them back.
  • Confirm any calls with your credit card company by dialing the number provided on the back of your credit card.
  • When browsing a website, always verify the URL and domain to ensure you are on the official site.
  • Regularly scrutinize your client statements for any signs of suspicious or unauthorized transactions. Promptly report any discrepancies.
  • Be skeptical towards testimonials, as scammers may enlist individuals to fabricate positive reviews or testimonials endorsing fraudulent investment schemes.

If you think that you may be a victim of fraud, our fraud investigation team can help. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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