Fraud Prevention Month is an annual public awareness campaign held in March that began in 2004 by encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.
Here are a few tips to protect yourself from fraud:
• Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
• Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
• Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
• Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
• Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
• Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
• Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
One of the most recent scams that our agency has been informed of is called the Phoney Bank Inspector Scam.
There are many variations to this scam but, in general, this is how it plays out:
• An individual (often a senior) receives a phone call from someone who knows their name.
• The caller claims to be a bank inspector (bank manager, police investigator, etc.) and explains that the bank is investigating a series of fraud cases that have been committed by staff at the individual’s branch.
• The caller then asks the individual to withdraw a large sum of money from their account that will be inspected and used as evidence as part of the investigation.
• The caller explains that, because the suspected criminal works at the branch in question, the individual should not tell the branch staff why they are withdrawing the money.
• After the money is withdrawn, the victim is advised to meet the ‘investigator’ at a pre-determined nearby destination, where the money is handed over for investigation.
• Once the money changes hands, the victim is instructed to return home and await a phone call confirming that the money has been re-deposited into the original account.
• Unfortunately, no call comes, the money is not returned and the ‘inspector’ is never heard from again.
If you get such a call as described above report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501.
If you feel that you have been a victim of fraud or have given out personal or financial information unwittingly, please contact the Lacombe Police Service at 403-782-3279.
– Lacombe Police Service