Our office and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre want to ensure that Cambridge and North Dumfries residents have the right tools to deal with instances of fraud and scams used to steal money or identities.
Each day, new scams are being reported, and it’s important that residents are protected from these attempts. The more you know about specific scams and their tactics, the less likely you are to become a victim.
Fraudulent scams are premised on professional-looking content meant to convince you they are legitimate. Whether it be a charity, government, or business, typically, they prey on vulnerable situations – such as those needing help with loans, finding employment, or with immigration status — and use fear to encourage you to act without thinking first.
The first sign of fraud is that they often ask for fees in advance of services or goods and threaten consequences if you ignore or refuse their services. Alternatively, they may offer deals that are suspiciously attractive. Remember, if something seems ‘too good to be true’, it often is.
Fraudsters have sophisticated tactics which help them to appear reliable – they can spoof phone numbers to make it look like they are calling from a government agency such as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or the Waterloo Regional Police Service, or they may have a well-designed website that makes them look like a legitimate business or charity.
Spoofing is when a person sends an email or a phone call, and the address or phone number that appears is a fake one. For example, your caller ID could say “Canada Revenue Agency,” even though the call is not actually coming from CRA.
If you receive a call from a Government agency such as the CRA, keep in mind that the Government will never ask that you send money anywhere, for any reason, or call you to ask for personal information such as credit card information, social insurance number, bank account number, or passport number. All regular payments are done through legitimate government websites.
Fraud originating from apparent businesses will often use fear or very enticing offers to convince you to pay for a good before seeing or receiving it.
For example, you may be told that your computer is infected with a virus and that you need to buy an anti-virus program from a professional-looking website.
If someone has called or emailed you, seeking to offer you a deal on a product, or to assist you with a problem that you did not know you had (such as a computer virus, remaining tax charge, or legal fee), do not offer any money or information without seriously questioning the person contacting you and the issue they have approached you with.
As the sophistication of scams increases, the best protection is knowledge of different scams. You can view the Competition Bureau of Canada’s complete list of scams here.
The CARP “Get Scam Smart” guide further explains the different types of fraud and the subsequent warning signs, particularly fraud targeting the elderly.
View the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) page on recognising frauds and scams here.
If you have been a victim of fraud, or were contacted by someone who attempted to scam you, retain any information that you can, such as receipts, emails, or phone numbers. See the RCMP’s website on Scams and fraud for steps on what to do if you are a victim.
Reporting cases of fraud to the RCMP, local police, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Government of Ontario and websites that may host fraudulent posts (such as Facebook or Kijiji) helps prevent further cases that could affect friends or neighbours.
When in doubt about the credibility of a source claiming to be from ‘the government’, contact that government agency directly, using publically available contact information from a trusted source such as an official government website (canada.gc.ca). Do not use any phone numbers or emails provided by the source in question.
Should you wish to have additional verification or require assistance with the above, our office can help you to identify instances of fraud if you have received a concerning email or call from a government agency such as the CRA, and you wish to double-check its legitimacy. .
If you have any questions about this, or any other federal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance. We are always willing to help you with questions and concerns in the community, and by representing your interests in Ottawa.