Fraud prevention month

Derek Kilbourn

derek@soundernews.com

Monday, March 5 2012

Fraudsters are out there, and they want your money.
March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. One of the most feared fraud committed is that of identity theft.
If you get a phone call from someone purporting to be from your internet provider, phone company, financial institution or other government agency, there are a few steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft.
1. If you have call display, write down the number you are being called from.
2. Ask the person to hold and go get your latest statement from the company the caller says he/she says he/she represents. Important note: do not actually give them any information off the statement. Ask the caller to tell you the account number he/she is calling about. If he/she cannot give you that information, hang up and report the number to the RCMP.
3. If the caller gives the correct account number, say you are grateful for the phone call, but for security purposes you are going to hang up to call the company at the phone number displayed on your statement. If the person truly is calling from that company, he/she will compliment you on your fraud savvy and may tell you which department to ask for when you call back.
4. If at anytime during the phone call you are asked for any personal information, hang up and report the number. A financial or service company is very unlikely to initiate the call and in the rare case it does, they already have all that information in your file.
5. If you receive a phone call from anyone stating that your internet/email/computer has been hacked and needs to be fixed by remote, hang up and report the number to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). Then call a local computer expert (we have very good ones here on Gabriola) and explain what happened. Those same experts can help set up your system to improve your online security.
6. If you have any lingering doubts about the security of your account after hanging up the phone, call your actual bank/service provider and report the phone call. They like to know when their name is being used for a scam and it gives you the peace of mind knowing your information is still safe.
7. Have the CAFC phone number posted somewhere near your central phone so when/if you receive a phone call or email you can report it.
Unfortunately there are a lot of ways to confuse and scam the public and just as many people willing to do so to make the easy money.
As the CAFC says, there is no reason to be paranoid, but there are many reasons to be careful. If you are caught, don’t be embarrassed and don’t panic.
As this year’s theme says, recognize it, report it and you can help stop it.
The CAFC number is 1-888-495-8501. Much  more information on types of fraud can be found on the CAFC web site at www.antifraudcentre.ca.