(NC) Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their tactics to obtain our personal information and money. From email phishing, to credit cards scams and everything in between, it's important to protect yourself from fraud. It's also important to know what to do if you've been scammed.
It can be hard to bring scammers to justice, as they often cover their tracks by using fake or stolen identities, made-up emailed address and disposable phone numbers. But you should always report a scam if you or someone you know falls victim to one.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of the total number of fraud victims report their experiences to law enforcement agencies. Many people don't report it because they feel embarrassed. However, reporting it helps fellow citizens avoid experiencing the same thing.
Here are some tips to help you recover after you've become the victim of a scam:
Report it to a law enforcement agency
There are a number of government and law enforcement agencies in Canada. The best one to contact depends on where you live, and the type of fraud you've experienced. If you are not sure to whom you should report it, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which will guide you.
Look for The Little Black Book of Scams
This handy book outlines widespread scams, offers tips on how to protect yourself and your hard-earned cash, and suggests ways to report a scam. It is available online at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.
File a Police Report
Just as you would call the police if you were robbed on the street, if a criminal uses the internet to steal your money, it is not any less of a crime. File a police report as soon as you can, but remember to call the non-emergency number for your local police department and ask for the fraud or computer-related crimes division.
Contact your bank or credit card company
If you have fallen victim to a scam involving money, be sure to contact your bank or credit card company as soon as possible so that they can freeze your cards and prevent any further charges. Credit card companies may also be able to reverse the transaction if they believe that your credit card was billed fraudulently.
Update your anti-virus software
If you opened up a suspicious email, the scammers who sent it may have embedded links within the message that could infect your computer. If this occurs, run a full system check on your computer with reliable software.