March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, and this is a timely topic because it seems scammers are running more rampant than ever lately. In fact, a recent CBC story showed that Calgarians lost $61 million to scams last year alone.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam or fraud, here is what you should do.
- Get as much information as you can about the incident: anything documented in regards to the scam or fraud, collect and organize. This may include documents, receipts, copies of emails or text messages. The more evidence, the better. Keep a log of all the numbers (if any) that are associated with the scam as well.
- Report it to the police: your local police need to be kept aware of which scams are targeting which residents and/or businesses.
- Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: you can call them at 1-888-495-8501, or you can report online.
- Let Better Business Bureau know: the BBB recently launched an online scam tracker where you can not only report a scam but keep tabs on new ones in your area.
- Report to financial institutions: report to your bank or to the place where the money was sent (money transfer service, bank, credit union, etc.)
- If online, report to the website: if the scam or fraud took place on a site like Facebook or kijiji, report the incident to the site through their “report abuse” or “report an ad” sections.
- Report to credit bureau: it’s always a good idea to let either Equifax or TransUnion know about fraud, so they can make notes on your account.
And if you want to help a friend or family member in this area, the RCMP has some sound advice:
If you suspect that someone you know has fallen prey to a deceptive telemarketer, don’t criticize them. Encourage them to share their concerns with you about unsolicited calls or any new business or charitable dealings. Assure them that it is not rude to hang up on suspicious calls. Keep in mind that criminal telemarketers are relentless in hounding people. Some victims report receiving five or more calls a day, wearing down their resistance. And once a person has succumbed to this ruthless fraud, their name and number will likely go on a “list”, which is sold from one crook to another. [RCMP]