Scams that target Canadian consumers — Tips to avoid being scammed

Scammers will always come up with new ways to steal your money. But no matter the type of scam, there are some proven ways to make sure you don’t become a victim:

  • Protect your identity at all times. Only give out personal information when you know and can absolutely trust the person you’re communicating with.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust. Never send money or pay a fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings, and never send money to someone whose identity you can’t confirm. Never give your credit card or banking information over the phone unless you know and trust the person you are talking to.
  • Ask for identification and be assertive. Demand to see the identification of door to door salespeople and send them away if you’re not comfortable. If someone claims to acting in an official capacity, make sure they have clear and official identification. Inform yourself about the product or service offered and don’t be pressured to act immediately. Take the time to do your research.
  • Beware of text scams or spam email. Never reply to spam email or text messages from people or organizations you’ve never heard of. Be wary even if a message appears to come from a source you know. Be careful when clicking on embedded links, especially when they transfer you to a site asking for your name and password.
  • Beware of free downloads and requests for passwords. A free game, application or trial offer that requires a credit card number can result in unexpected charges. Downloading suspicious content can harm your computer and compromise your identity. Choose uncommon passwords, change them regularly, and don’t share them with others.
  • Say no. If you receive a suspicious email, delete it. If you question the legitimacy of a telephone call from an unfamiliar source, hang up. If you get something in the mail asking you to forward personal information or credit card details, throw it away. Trust your instincts; they could save you from becoming the victim of fraud.

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