In the modern world we are unfortunately plagued by deceptive phone calls and emails intending to defraud. Often they seem hilariously inept, but the statistics about reported scams tell us that vast amounts of money are stolen this way, so they obviously catch many of us off-guard. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- If you receive a suspicious phone call claiming to be from a family member in an emergency situation, hang up the phone and contact them directly on the number you have in your telephone list. Likewise unexpected phone calls, texts or emails from your bank or credit card. If you are worried, disconnect and follow up by contacting your bank directly.
- If the caller claims to be a law enforcement official and asks you to pay a fine or bail, hang up and call your police directly. The police or other officials will never request payment by cash, credit card, gift card or Bitcoin. This is always a scam.
- Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and dating sites for targeting purposes. They can easily gather names and details about your loved ones.
- Be careful with caller ID numbers that look familiar. Scammers use technology to disguise (spoof) the actual number they are calling from and make it appear as a trusted phone number.
- If you receive a strange email from a friend or family member it just takes a moment to run your cursor over the sender’s email address above the message and click. If you do not recognize it, do not reply or click on any links in the message. Just delete. (Your email application may have a button near the delete button to report it as spam. Use it.)
- Listen to your inner voice that tells you that something does not sound right.
Want to know more about this topic? The Government of Canada has a website dedicated to informing the public – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.