Recently the Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has received calls surrounding possible frauds. The three most prevalent calls have been persons posing as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees, the second are calls about lowering your credit card interest rates and the third being lottery or gift card winners. Everyone should be aware that the CRA does not call you wanting money transfers and should you receive correspondence from the CRA contact them yourself directly.
Credit card companies and banks themselves are the only ones that can lower your interest rates; they don’t contract their services out to off shore call centres to lower rates. And finally, if you win the lottery, you win, you don’t pay to get your prize. And if you didn’t play in the first place, how could you have won. Consumer’s should always protect their information and should always be mindful of the fact that if is seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The Competition Bureau has the helpful tips to protect you against fraud:
- Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
- Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
- Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
- Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
- Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
- Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
- Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
- Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
- If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report it! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.
The following link is a great tool called the Little Black Book of Scams which can be used as a fraud protection guide: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03074.html