With the holidays just around the corner, it’s important to remain vigilant about fraudsters, as the giving season can bring an influx of scams and schemes.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) recommends following a three-step fraud management system – recognize, reject, report. According to the CAFC, the most common tactics used by fraudsters are extortion, identity fraud, investment fraud, phishing, service scams and social engineering.
It’s important to remain calm and cautious if you think you’re dealing with a scam. Follow the tips below to recognize and manage common scams.
Extortion is the illegal procurement of resources through threat or coercion. Online extortion is increasingly becoming a threat to cybersecurity and may take place through social media or email.
Protect yourself by ignoring and reporting suspicious emails and text messages, keep your social media private and research advertisements, companies, and credentials before sending them any money. Remember that law enforcement and financial institutions will never threaten you or put pressure on you to send them money, especially not over email or phone.
Identity fraud involves the unauthorized use of another individual’s personal information to steal money or information. Protect yourself from identity fraud by safeguarding your personal information, avoiding clicking suspicious links or giving sensitive information to anyone you do not recognize.
Investment scams often take the form of false cryptocurrency advertisements or links, asking individuals to invest in a fraudulent account. Ensure you do research before investing in cryptocurrency and verify the information of any companies before sending them money.
Phishing often takes place via email, message, or phone call. Fraudsters may manipulate you with threats to give them your personal information such as passwords or banking info. Phishing attempts can be recognized by the use of bold, urgent and threatening language. Often, messages will involve emails that don’t match the name of the person claiming to message you. Messages may contain spelling and grammar errors. Delete and report messages you believe to be phishing attempts.
Often taking the form of false support services, service scams involve fraudsters stealing your money or information by gaining access to your electronic devices under the guise of tech support. The CAFC recommends not allowing individuals remote access to your devices nor giving out personal information over-the-phone to anyone who calls you unsolicited, promising to render services.
Social engineering can be a tricky scam to recognize. Fraudsters will do online research about an individual and use the information they find to send messages that look like they’re from someone you know to trick you into giving them personal information. Ensure you do not share too much information on social media, use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication to limit the chance of being a victim of social engineering.