While scams may differ, the ways you can protect yourself are often the same. Here are our top 6 tips to protect you from scammers.
Top 6 tips to protect you from scammers
Beware of unexpected calls, emails or texts. If something seems odd, completely unexpected, or just doesn’t feel quite right, trust your gut and don’t engage. Avoid clicking any links in emails or texts that are unexpected or out of character.
Be protective of your personal information. If someone calls or emails you asking for your personal information, it’s a good time to start being suspicious. If you didn’t initiate the conversation, you have no idea who you’re speaking to. It’s important to guard sensitive information, such as your:
- Social insurance number
- Credit card information
Think carefully before you act. If you feel pressured into making a quick decision or if the person is playing on your emotions, don’t be afraid to say no. These tactics are a big red flag that the person you’re dealing with is a scammer. Remember to take your time and think very carefully before you make any rash decisions. You may want to talk to a trusted friend or family member if you are unsure.
Do your research. Take your time and do some digging. Can you independently verify that this person or business is legitimate? Look online for the contact information for the company that supposedly contacted you and call them to confirm it was actually them. Scammers will frequently pose as reputable businesses, banks, or even the CRA.
Be suspicious of any upfront fees. Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services, or a prize. There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it’s free. It’s illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they’ll give you a loan. Learn more about advance fee loan scams.
Protect your devices and online accounts. Use strong passwords for all your accounts and only log in using trusted devices. Be sure to avoid using public Wi-Fi for any sensitive online transactions like online banking or situations where you enter your credit card information.
Get a strange email with spelling and formatting errors? Don’t click on any suspicious links or attachments, as they may contain viruses or spyware. Anti-virus software and up to date operating systems can help protect you and your personal devices from attacks.
What to do if you fall victim to fraud
Follow these steps from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and be sure to report the issue to them as well.
Did we miss anything? What are your top tips for avoiding scams?
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.