March is officially fraud prevention month in Canada. As many may know a prime target for fraud happens to be the beloved senior community. Loving Support will give you many tips to prevent fraud from occurring to you or your loved one.
- Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone or delete an email
- Don’t disclose personal info over the phone especially when it’s an inbound call
- Don’t be shy to ask questions and request for more information, if needed. (Never give your mailing address)
- Don’t be fooled by promises i.e. prizes, free trips, gift cards, or cash. It’s just a way to get personal information about you.
With all these don’ts, here are somethings we should be doing? It all starts with breaking bad habits and /or being willing to adapt to change.
- Change all statements to online, from your banking to your phone bill and utilities. These should be online as fraudsters find and use paper copies to gather information then use this information against us. Give the criminal less ammo by not giving them the chance to see your information. Many people are reluctant to have all statements online but a major positive is that the information is stored in a secured spot for 7 years or more where you can see information anytime. Whereas, mail you have a mountain of paper work that can be missed placed, not organized or just taking up to much space. This small change can help to prevent criminals from getting information.
- Check your credit.
Most people are negligent to check there credit as they figure they have a credit card and bank account that are still active so their safe. They couldn’t be any further from the truth. People may find when they pull their credit that they have accounts that they closed but are still open or worse an account they didn’t open. This will allow you to be proactive at catching criminal activity before it is fully initiated.
You can go and check out your credit on Equifax and TransUnion.
- Shred Important Documents.
Properly disposing of personal documents is of high importance and can reduce or eliminate potential fraud that may occur. Things that people take for granted is their visa bill. For instance the need to ensure a paper copy so when you receive it, you are likely to pay but if this bill gets in the wrong hands it will provide a lot of personal information.
Few ways to throw away your statements is simple. One way is walk in to any financial institution and they will have a shred it or mountain bin that and properly destroy the documents. Another way is to buy a shedder so before it goes in garbage you shred it to reduce chance of fraud.
- Report Fraud
Many people don’t report the fraud. This is why the cycle continues. If you have been a victim report suspicious activity. With less than 5% of victims reporting fraudulent activity it is critical that we it is critical that we report it.
Common Scams to be aware of:
- Online shopping
- Identity theft
- Misleading Advertisement
- Cheque cashing / online classifieds / money transfer job scams
- Fraudulent health products or cures
- Prize lottery scams
- Subscription Traps / Free Trial Scams
- Work from home
Protect yourself from fraud. Fraudsters are usually professional criminals that are intelligent and know what they are doing and where to look for the information that they need. Check your credit frequently, shred and dispose of your documents properly and report fraud.