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5 Scams Targeting People Like You

August 21, 2013 by CreditCardsCo™

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Fraud is a common act and one that is expensive. Unfortunately, it is the victim who pays while the scammer enjoys the money they receive from their deception. Having an idea of what to look out for can protect you and anyone you know from these scams, which reduces the number of cases authorities have to handle.

Canadian security officials are having a hard time keeping ahead of the number of scams that are targeting citizens. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, or CAFC, says identity fraud, which is the using of someone else's identity for financial or material gain, saw an increase in 2012. This had a cost of $15.9 million for the victims. This was a $2.7 million increase over 2011. Other types of fraud, such as identity theft and market fraud cost unsuspecting Canadians even more.

Scammers are always changing their tactics, but there is one thing that they all have in common and that is the desire to separate their victims from their money. That is why the CAFC is warning about the different scams that are occurring throughout Canada.

Grandparent Scam

The grandparent scam has been around for quite some time, but the CAFC decided to issue an alert in 2013 after they noted an increase in the number of complains they were receiving about this scam.

The way this scam works is the scammer poses as the nephew or grandchild of the victim, stating they need money because they are in a bad situation. Usually, the scammer will claim that he has been in a car accident or arrested, so there is a need for bail money or money to get home. There are also some that say they are in a foreign country and they need money to help them get home.

The caller is very good at what they do. They are able to pick up on specific pieces of personal information that can be integrated into the conversation so that it sounds as if he or she is really a family member. The best tip that can be offered is to not provide any money at all when someone asks for it over the phone.

Late Payment Scam

This scam is also called the "Executive Scam" because businesses are the target. The scammers will do online research on a company to identify who the executives are and gather the email addresses of the accounting departments. They then create a Gmail or Yahoo email address so they can email the accounting department, posing as an executive. They state in the email that they are at working at home for the day and they have found an outstanding payment that needs to be made.

The victimization rate of this scam is low, but it does have the potential to cause some financial damage.

Timeshare Scam

The scammers in this scam call timeshare owners and ask them if they would like to sell their timeshares. To make this deal more enticing, the crooks promise that the sales will be quick and with high profit margins. However, there are various fees that are requested before the final sale. This includes escrow and maintenance fees, as well as money to cover the taxes.

The average loss a victim sees with this scam is $11,000 with more than 100 victims in 2011 recording a combined loss of $1.5 million. To protect yourself against this scam, you should never have to pay fees in advance to sell your timeshare. You should also only work with an agency that is legitimate.

Anti-Virus Scam

The anti-virus scam is very common. Someone calls, they claim to be from Microsoft, and they state that they are calling because the computer has a virus or the computer is running too slow. One warning about these callers is that they are not afraid to be pushy, even if you are not a Microsoft customer.

They offer to do computer repairs over the phone, which can involve software installation or the customer allowing the fake representative to remotely access their computer. This is something that has been occurring since 2012 and the CAFC has fielded over 15,000 complaints with the losses totaling over $1 million.

The most recent variation of this scam involves a caller saying they work for the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center and that access to the computer is required because it is being hacked. The victim is told that if they fail to cooperate, they will be held responsible for any actions taken by the hacker.

The advice for this scam is to never provide personal information or passwords to someone who calls you. There should never be a reason for a computer company to call you and ask you for that information if you haven't called them first to tell them there is a problem.

Puppy Scam

This scam uses the newspaper or Internet to target dog lovers, stating that purebred dogs are available at discounted prices. The scammer says that they are selling the dog because they are leaving the country or going on a mission to another country. Once the buyer pays for the dog, they are hit with outer fees, such as a "verification of vaccination fee" or an "out of country tax." The emails and requests for payment continue until the victim catches on to the fact that the dog waiting for them is an imaginary pooch.

Consumers are cautioned to be diligent when making financial transactions over the telephone or Internet. Unless you initiate contact with the company first, which says you know who you are taking to, you should never provide information. If someone calls you and asks you, you can ask them for a telephone number to call them back. If they cannot give one, then it is most likely a scam. If they hang up on you, then you know you won that fight.

Final Word

So be cautious, stay up-to-date on the most recent scams, and contact the police if you believe someone has tried to scam you. Reporting a scam to the police is very important because this can help them make sure others don’t become victims to the same scam.

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