Frauds & Scams Info & Tips
Crimes driven by profit motives can be devastating for victims and make up a growing part of police workload. From sophisticated internet schemes to door-to-door marketing fraud and "phishing" scams, greedy criminals have found thousands of ways to separate honest citizens from their private information and their money. With a few simple steps anyone can scam-proof their life. And everyone should.
Did you know?
In 2016, the Competition Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre saw nearly a 30% spike in reported complaints compared with 2015; with online scams accounting for over 20,000 of the complaints costing Canadians more than $40 million in losses.
Romance scams are a popular way of getting money from unsuspecting victims. The RCMP reported 748 victims lost over $17 million in 2017 to scammers pretending to be in love. And those are just the reported incidents. Many victims of frauds and scams are unaware that they have been victimized or don't report it because they are too embarrassed to admit that they were taken in. If you’re looking for love online, be wary of suitors who profess their love early on in a relationship and be very cautious when online suitors start asking for money. More on romance scams.
SMiShing is similar to phishing, but instead of using your email to contact you, scammers are use SMS text messaging to try get your personal information. One ploy is for cybercriminals to send an
URGENT text message that makes the recipient fear that if they don’t follow the link or respond to the text immediately an important service, like their ATM card or mobile service will stop immediately.
Reputable businesses will never ask you to respond to a text or email with personal information.
According to the government of Canada 156 million phishing emails are sent out daily. According to a 2018 survey by Interac, 64 percent of Canadians were tempted to click on a link they weren’t sure was safe, and almost one quarter went ahead and clicked anyway.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in the first seven months of 2016 alone, 767 Canadians reported falling victim to text message scams accounting for over $567,000 in losses.
Coquitlam RCMP's Crime Reduction Strategy focuses on fraud and identity theft?
Local crime analysis and investigative results show that our local prolific offenders are involved in fraud and identity theft. So we make sure our team is focused on the people that cause the most crime and disorder in the communities we serve. Learn more about Coquitlam RCMP's Crime Reduction Strategy.
- Protect your PIN. Don't write it down or share it with anyone. Use your hand or body as a shield during transactions.
- Password protect all your devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
- Use a different password for different accounts and devices. Avoid easy to guess number and word combinations, such as 123456 or password or your birthday or address. More tips on choosing a strong password from Get Cyber Safe.
- Keep your private information private. The internet provides lots of opportunities for you to hand over private information. But criminals can't "harvest" information unless you put it out there.
- Monitor your accounts and credit reports regularly. Frauds and scams can go undetected for a long time unless you monitor your credit report as well as activity on your bank and credit card accounts.
- Keep your computer and smart-devices protected. Anti-virus, spam filters and "anti-phishing" software can protect info stored on your computer so make sure you keep it up-to-date.
- Do rely on relatively simple techniques, like using proximity-tap technology on your credit and debit cards, to help defeat criminals using "shimmers." Learn more about "shimmers".
- If you suspect you’ve been the target of fraud or a scam or have already been lost money, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Make financial decisions under pressure. Always take time to get a second opinion and talk to someone you trust.
- Click on links in suspicious or unsolicited emails. If you do click on link and unwittingly provide personal information, follow these steps:
- contact your credit bureau and have fraud alerts placed on your credit card reports;
- contact your local police via the non-emergency number;
- report phishing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Respond to unsolicited email or phone requests for private information. Reputable businesses don't engage in these practices.
- Carry more cards and identification than you need. The less you carry, the easier it is to keep track of.
- Leave important documents or mail unsecured. Theft of vehicle insurance papers and mail theft are two common ways that criminals get their hands on private information.
- Provide your personal information just because it’s being asked of you. From retailers to radio station contests, in any given day we may provide little tidbits of personal information that, if in the wrong hands, could be used to access other accounts or to commit identify fraud. Always ask why the information is needed and if you don’t think it’s legitimate then don’t provide it.
If you see something, say something!
Public safety is everyone's responsibility—and it’s easy. The best way to do your part for public safety is to get connected to your neighbourhood, pay attention to what is going on around you and report any criminal or suspicious activity to the police. Find out more about reporting criminal and suspicious activity to the Coquitlam RCMP.
Community Safety Tips
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