Scams Are Everywhere

“Stella and George are recent immigrants to Canada, well educated, fluent in English and are looking for professional jobs in Canada.  While at home, they received a call from a police officer from the local police station that they have defrauded thousands of dollars from accounts at various Canadian Financial Institutions and a criminal charge is initiated on them.  Even though George and Stella knew that they did not do anything wrong, they see that the caller ID is from the local police station.  The police officer was very assertive and asked them to immediately come to a specific ATM for payment of charges far away from their home.  The couple went into distress and was convinced that someone stole their SIN Cards and defrauded the bank with a mistaken identity.  Without having obtained a driver’s license in Canada, the couple went on a taxi to the specified place only to see a BITcoin machine.  Immediately their instincts kicked in and realized that the phone call was phony.  They were within seconds of falling prey to a scam.

What made them almost fall for the scam is what appeared to be a legitimate Caller ID and a person speaking with authority and professionalism.”

Scammers can get you in a variety of ways.  They can blame you with tax fraud, immigration fraud and demand money to avoid arrest.  Newcomers could also fall prey to employment scams as they are desperately looking for jobs. Canadians largely fall prey to online and credit card scams as online shopping has exponentially increased during the pandemic.

Here are some tips to save you from becoming a victim of a scam or an identity theft. Remember, the four main channels that majority of scams happen are telephone, email, in-person and social media/online:

  1. Set up the voicemail in your phone and do not pick up the calls from unknown numbers.  
  2. Do not reply to text messages from unknown senders
  3. If a scammer gets you on the phone, ask them for their name and phone number and tell them you will call them back.  Don’t give in to high pressure tactics.
  4. Do not open the door for salespersons or strangers.
  5. Do not reply or click on the links of emails from unknown email ids. Never share personal information
  6. Never befriend anonymous people on social media

If you have been a victim of fraud you should contact your local police or file a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 (toll-free) or do it online through the Fraud Reporting System.

The bottom line is – if it is too good to be true, it probably is a scam.   If you are pressured, forced or threatened to do something, it is a scam.  Check out the authenticity of anonymous calls or emails with trusted service providers such as Indus Community Services, who are leaders in settling, educating and empowering Peel and Halton Community free of cost for over 35 years.