The monthly newsletter from the Canadian Banking Association is out and is well worth reading. Unfortunately it does not appear on line so your only way of seeing it is to subscribe to the e-mail version.
The topic of Fraud Prevention Tip â€“ February 2009 is scams. You may wish to subscribe to see the full content but here we will show you some of the highlights.
According to statistics compiled by PhoneBusters, in 2008 there were more than 17,000 victims of fraudulent scams in Canada, which added up to a total dollar loss of over $36 million. And as these numbers are based solely on reported cases, there are potentially countless more that have gone unreported.
With so many scams you might feel overwhelmed but the good news is there are many resources available for consumers to help them protect themselves. The newsletter gives the following:
- PhoneBusters is a Canadian anti-fraud call centre managed by the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP and the Competition Bureau Canada. Its website provides an extensive list of fraudulent scams to watch out for, channels for reporting suspected fraud cases, and links to local fraud prevention groups across the country.
- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police website provides practical information to help Canadians protect their personal information and ensure their identity and finances are not compromised.
- The Competition Bureau of Canada and the Fraud Prevention Forum work to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to â€œrecognize it, report it and stop itâ€.
- The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada offers useful information to help Canadians protect their private information and learn about their privacy rights.
The PhoneBusters website is excellent and has a particularly good list of current scams, which you can explore via the following links:
- 900 Scams
- Advanced Fee Letter Fraud (419 / Nigerian Letters)
- Advanced Fee Loans
- Bomb Threat
- Cheque Overpayment Fraud
- Consumer Tips
- Dead Air Calls
- Emergency Scam
- False Charities
- Hitman Email
- Identity Theft
- Lottery Emails
- Office Supplies / Directory
- Phone Number Spoofing
- Prize Pitch
- Puppy Scam
- Pyramid Schemes
- Recovery Pitch
- Vehicle Warranty Package
Debit and Credit Card Providers
The newsletter also gives some useful links to credit card companies and the Interac Association, which runs the debit card system since frauds may often involve these. Here are the Visa, MasterCard and Interac fraud prevention web pages for both card holders and merchants.
Here are some other resources on scams in Canada you may find helpful.
- Consumer Scams in Canada from About.com
- Canadaâ€™s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) – Scams / Fraud
- Scam Forum a private forum to exchange news and views
Let us hope that all the above remains only a somewhat academic source of information for you and that you are never taken in by one of these scams. Some of these scams are very difficult to spot and can destroy your life so it is important to be ever vigilant.