Protect Yourself – Fraudster’s Tricks and How To Avoid Them

I just received a phone call from Ontario, saying it was Servus Credit Union calling and that my SIN has been compromised and not to hang up as I would end up in JAIL!

I hung up. . .

In this day of heightened cyber crime being aware of how to protect yourself has become critical. Here are some tips to avoid falling into a fraudster’s trap.

Protect yourself

Do not answer emails from princes using poor grammar or any prince in that matter. Or emails from any company that you have no dealings with or have not entered their contest, i.e. emails from Canada Post, Wal Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, iPhone or Samsung saying claim your prize.

Phone calls saying you have won a trip, airmiles, or a sweepstakes and all you must do is verify your personal information.

Phone calls from local business wanting to verify your credit card information, your email, or your banking information.  If it is legit – call the business back at the number you know, NOT the one provided by the call. (Scammers spoof local business phone numbers).

Phone calls from the Revenue Canada or the IRS.

Revenue Canada will always let you know by mail before they call.  They will not demand immediate payment, or ask for your personal information over the phone. They will never threaten you with jail or being arrested in front of your family.

Phone calls from a grandchild who is jail in a foreign country. If children are travelling to a foreign country let senior members of the family know prior to leaving.  If you get a phone call from a grandchild who is jail in a foreign country, hang up and call their immediate family to verify said child is at home, regardless of the family situation.

How about a call from a computer company?  A legitimate computer company is not going to call because they are getting messages from your computer about a technical problem.

Con artists work best when their victims are in a heightened emotional state – excited about the prize or terrified about the debt or jail.

Other red flags

  • Does the caller use high-pressure sales tactics or threatening language?
  • Do they ask for payment in advance for a product or service or require an unorthodox payment method, such as a wire- transfer, pre-paid debit card, gift cards or iTunes cards?
  • Do they insist you act now?
  • Sounds too good to be true? It is.  If they are urgently telling you that if you didn’t enter the sweepstakes, you are not going to win it. Be wary these people are mining for personal information.
  • Do not supply any sensitive personal information to anyone you don’t know
  • Sleep on it. If the caller is legit, they won’t mind if you take your time to think it over.
  • Don’t engage with suspicious callers. They may be able to extract valuable information from innocuous comments. (And never answer with the word “YES”. They can record you and use it in a scam.
  • If it’s an automated call or number you don’t recognize, let it go to voicemail.

Here at Storage Group Alberta we do need to contact our customers from time-to-time but staff will always identify themselves by name and if you aren’t sure you can always call us back at our local numbers: Drayton Valley Storage, 780-542-7582, Lacombe Storage, 403-782-1455, and Medicine Hat Storage, 403-529-2646. We’re here for you.

~ Roberta Gordica