That's Life - March 15, 2023

March is Fraud Prevention Month.

This annual campaign was established to help us recognize, reject and report fraud.

This year’s theme, Tricks of the Trade: What’s in a Fraudster’s Toolbox?” will help us recognize the increasingly sophisticated tricks and tools scammers use to entrap victims.

Scammers target consumers and businesses.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to be informed and alert. Get to know the different types of scams and always report fraud.

Psychological manipulation can work on anyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much education you have, your income level, or any other aspect of your personal background. Fraudsters are very good at manipulating people to get what they want, such as getting you to reveal personal information or convincing you to give them money. They do this using tactics that take advantage of normal human tendencies and feelings. For example, scammers will imply that you should return a favour, do what others are doing, obey an authority figure, want something because it is scarce, honour a prior commitment, trust someone because they seem likeable or act fast because it’s urgent or a time-sensitive offer.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to be informed and vigilant. Take a moment to think before parting with your money or information. Re-read the details of the offer and the fine print, consult a trusted person like a family member or close friend. Remember, if it seems too good to be true it most likely is.

Identity Fraud is one of the most common forms of fraud in Canada. Criminals will often steal a person’s identity to commit other crimes such as fraudulently applying for loans or credit cards, opening bank accounts, transferring bank funds and more.

If you are unsure of whether or not you are being targeted by a scam, visit the Government of Canada’s website to learn more about common scam types. If you have been the victim of fraud, report it to our local police and to the Canadian Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501. Be sure to contact your bank and credit card company if you believe your personal or financial information has been compromised.

Over the years I have sat down with people of all ages who have been victims of fraud. Most of the time they are ashamed and don’t want their families to know that they were scammed out of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As it stands, only about 5% of scams, committed in Canada, are reported to the authorities.

It is our duty to report these scams to the authorities. Otherwise, nothing will ever be done to stop those responsible.

That’s Life.