Fraud artists can be ruthless when it comes to devising new ways to rip people off and it appears social media and networking sites are the latest crime scenes. Anything and everything is up for grabs and no one is immune from these devious fraudsters.
March is Fraud Prevention Month and government and law enforcement agencies across Canada are reminding Canadians to be on the lookout for scams that are sometimes disguised as shortened web addresses, friendly chats, text messages, free downloads or invitations to view photos of yourself taken at a wild party. Think of these things as bait to get you to “click and compromise” your finances or your identity.
The bottom line is sites that attract a large number of visitors are also likely to attract the criminal element. With that in mind, be vigilant about who you communicate with online, how you verify their identity and what they are asking you to do. Never click on suspicious links or share personal or financial information unless you absolutely trust the person on the other end.
Canadians lose millions of dollars every year from these kinds of vicious attacks, so be on the lookout at all times. If you or someone you know has fallen prey to an online scam, you must report it to the authorities. Doing so helps the next person from experiencing the same invasion of privacy and loss of money.
To find a list of ways you can report a scam and learn more about Fraud Prevention Month, visit www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud, call the bureau at 1-800-348-5358, visit www.antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.