A well known axiom states that a fool and his money is soon parted.
It seems you that one can’t turn around these days without running into another scam of one sort of another.
In my household, with the number of phone calls my wife and I receive telling us we are going to jail for this infraction or that, it has become a running joke.
Just recently I had a scam hit my email inbox as well.
The email, purportedly from a reputable large-chain credit card company — of which I have no affiliation — begins with the words “Dear CARD MEMBER” and continues on from there, informing me of a suspicious charge on my non-existent account, and please click this link to confirm the transaction.
In all honesty, the entire email is a graphic design nightmare and does not even feature the logo of the credit card company.
The scary part with these scams is that the scammers wouldn’t do them if at least some people didn’t fall for them, though with the lack of effort the scammers appear to be putting into the scams lately, I’d be curious as to what the actual numbers are of people falling for them.
Still, all it takes is one person to fall for it for the scammers to make money.
Some things to consider when receiving phone calls or email telling you about an alleged crime or bank problem:
First, the Canadian Revenue Agency will never tell you to pay your bill in iTunes gift cards or other alternative payment method.
Second, if a phone call is allegedly coming from a bank, or border services, or other such agency, ask for a case number, their name, and then tell them you will call them back, once you get the phone number off the appropriate website, phone book, or off the back of your bank card.
Third, financial institutions will never send you an email telling you to enter all your information to verify it.
Fourth, in suspicious emails, never click links.
Fifth, jurisdictions won’t usually call you to tell you, via recorded message, that a warrant has been issued for your arrest, and the matter can be cleared up by pressing ‘1.’
While the credit card email I recently received was an obvious scam, I have personally witnessed others that have had me click a link and taken me to a page that could have been lifted from my financial institution.
Some scammers do, unfortunately, take pride in their work, and the only reason I know that the page was for sure a scan was the website’s security credentials came back as invalid.
The email looked legitamate, and the website looked real, however the certificate issue and instinct told me to follow up with the bank.
Sure enough, I contacted my financial institution and no such email had been sent by them.
Bottom line is, if something seems ‘off,’ it likely is.
Suspected fraud, phone call or email, can be reported to your local RCMP detachment or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501.
Despite it being the festive season, the scammers don’t take holidays.