Mass Marketing Frauds
marks the 13th Anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Fraud Prevention Month is a month-long crime
prevention initiative aimed and educating and information consumers and the
community on how to recognize, report and stop fraud. This week's focus is on mass marketing frauds.
One of the most common types of reported fraud are mass marking scams, also known as phishing scams. The word phishing comes from the way it is done, fraudster will replicate a valid company and send out emails that act as a lure to attract potential victims. The more lures (emails) used the more potential victims that can be reached. Phishing scams not only occur over the Internet but can also occur over the phone or traditional letters mailed to the general public.
Look out for emails, phone calls or letters claiming that you have won a prize but need to call in or respond to an email to verify your winnings. Often times you will be asked to call in to a 1-900 number, which require you to pay a price, sometimes up to $6.00/minute or a flat rate/phone call. Some phishing scams will appear to be from an institution you are currently involved with and will ask that you to provide some personal information such as; a credit card number, or social insurance number. This should be a warning sign as your financial institution will already have this information on file.
There are several ways to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams:
· Never respond to unsolicited requests from a company requesting personal information.
· If you receive a notification that you have won a prize from a contest that you have never participated in, do not respond to it.
· Block 1-900 phone numbers from calling you through your local telephone provider.
· If you receive a request from a company you are currently involved with, whether you work for them or are a client, and they are requesting money or personal information, contact that institution directly to confirm the details.
· If you receive unsolicited mail, either via email or regular mail, do your research on the company before conducting business with them. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource to confirm if they are a legitimate business with a positive reputation.
The best rule of thumb to protect yourself is to always be skeptical. Educate yourself on ways to protect your hard earned money and seek advice if you are concerned that something might be a scam. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website (www.antifraudcentre.ca) is a great resource and contains information about many different fraud types.
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Safety Unit