Handy Hints to Protect Yourself against Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, November 5, 2015 3:46 PM

Protect yourselfProtect your identity

  • Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.

  • Destroy personal information: don’t just throw it out. You should cut up or shred old bills, statements or cards - for example, credit cards and ATM cards.

  • Treat your personal details like you would treat money: don’t leave them lying around for others to take.

 

Money matters

  • Never send money to anyone that you don’t know and trust.

  • Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings.

  • "Jobs" asking you to simply use your own bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money-laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence.

  • Avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you do not know.

The face-to-face approach

  • If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification. You do not have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.

  • Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer.

  • Contact the Competition Bureau, provincial and territorial consumer affairs offices or the Better Business Bureau of your province or territory if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door.

 

Telephone business

  • If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company yourself.

  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

  • It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognize. Be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 1-900. These may be charged at a higher rate than other numbers and can be very expensive.

 

Email offers

  • Never reply to a spam email, even to unsubscribe - often, this just serves to "verify" your address to scammers. The best course of action is to delete any suspicious emails without opening them.

  • Turn off the "viewing pane" as just viewing the email may send a verification notice to the sender that yours is a valid email address.

  • Legitimate banks and financial institutions will never ask you for your account details in an email or ask you to click on a link in an email to access your account.

  • Never call a telephone number or trust other contact details that you see in a spam email.

 

Internet Business

  • Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept current. If you are unsure, seek the help of a computer professional.

  • If you want to access a website, use a bookmarked link to the website or type the address of the website into the browser yourself. Never follow a link in an email.

  • Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses very similar to legitimate websites.

  • Beware of websites offering "free" downloads (such as music, adult content, games and movies). Downloading these products may install harmful programs onto your computer without you knowing.

  • Avoid clicking on pop-up ads - this could lead to harmful programs being installed on your computer.

  • Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine.

  • Never send your personal, credit card or online banking details through an email.

  • Avoid using public computers (at libraries or Internet cafes) to do your Internet banking or online shopping.

 

Internet Auction Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 9:26 AM

ebayAn online auction is an auction which is held over the internet. Online auctions come in many different formats, but most popularly they are ascending English auctions, descending Dutch auctions, first-price sealed-bid, Vickrey auctions, or sometimes even a combination of multiple auctions, taking elements of one and forging them with another. The scope and reach of these auctions have been propelled by the Internet to a level beyond what the initial purveyors had anticipated. This is mainly because online auctions break down and remove the physical limitations of traditional auctions such as geography, presence, time, space, and a small target audience.

Online auctions have become big business, with millions of items for sale at any given time. (5 million+ at eBay alone, right now.) Tens of thousands of people around the world currently make a full-time living selling items through Internet auction houses.

One reason for their incredible growth and popularity is that they make it easy for people to find great deals on hard to find items from around the world. The excitement also makes them prime hunting grounds for scam artists, ready to play on the desire many auction bidders have for that “unbelievable deal.”

We want to mention right off the bat that the vast majority of sellers and buyers at online auctions are honest people, and deliver on their promises. According to eBay, only one auction in 40,000 on their site ends with a reported case of confirmed fraud.

 

Tips for Avoiding Internet Auction Fraud:

  • Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller’s obligations are before you bid.

  • Find out what actions the website/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.

  • Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.

  • Examine the feedback on the seller.

  • Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.

  • If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.

  • Be cautious when dealing with sellers outside the United States. If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult to rectify.

  • Ask the seller about when delivery can be expected and whether the merchandise is covered by a warranty or can be exchanged if there is a problem.

  • Make sure there are no unexpected costs, including whether shipping and handling is included in the auction price.

  • There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller.

 

Service Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:45 AM

Comic: It is 'Common-Wealth'. I am just taking my share.Many people are being targeted by individuals claiming to offer reduced rates or deals for various services.

These scams typically involve individuals that make offers for telecommunications, Internet, finance, medical and energy services. This category of scams may also include offers such as extended warranties, insurance, and door-to-door sales.

The two most reported service scams targeting peoples are the antivirus software scam andcredit card interest rate reduction scams.

The scammers involved in the antivirus software scam promise to repair your computer over the Internet. This can involve the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card.

Downloading software from an unknown source or allowing someone to remotely access your computer is risky. Scammers could use malicious software to capture your personal information such as user names and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.

Everyone likes to get a deal and scammers know this. The people behind credit card interest rate reduction scams often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest. The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now. 

You might receive an automated call, prompting you to "press 1" and provide personal information, such as your date of birth and credit card number. You will also be asked to pay a fee up front for the service. The scammers will use this information to make purchases on your credit card or to access cash advances.

Protect yourself:

  • Only your service provider can offer you a better rate or price for their services.

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls from people offering a great deal "for a limited time only".

  • Don’t give out your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call and the number came from a trusted source.

  • If a caller claims to represent your bank, telephone your bank to ask whether the offer you received is genuine.

  • Ask yourself if you are putting yourself at risk if you are offering up this information

 

Small Business Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:38 AM

Bank statementScams that target small businesses can come in a variety of forms - from bills for advertising or directory listings that were never ordered to dubious office supply offers.

Small business operators and individuals with their own Internet sites continue to be confused and caught by unsolicited letters warning them that their Internet domain name is due to expire and must be renewed, or offering them a new domain name similar to their current one.

If you have registered a domain name, be sure to carefully check any domain name renewal notices or invoices that you receive. While the notice could be genuine, it could also be from another company trying to sign you up, or it could be from a scammer.

  • Check that the renewal notice matches your current domain name exactly. Look out for small differences - for example, ".com" instead of ".ca" or missing letters in the URL address.

  • Check that the renewal notice comes from the company with which you originally registered your domain name.

  • Check your records for the actual expiry date for your existing domain name.

A directory listing or unauthorized advertising scam tries to bill a business for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business directory, or for an online directory listing.

The scam might come as a proposal for a subscription disguised as an update of an existing listing in a business directory. You might also be led to believe that you are responding to an offer for a free listing when in fact it is an order for a listing requiring later payment.

Another common approach used by scammers is to call a firm asking to confirm details of an advertisement that they claim has already been booked. The scammer might quote a genuine entry or advertisement your business has had in a different publication or directory to convince you that you really did use the scammer’s product.

Be wary of order forms offering advertising opportunities in business directories. These order forms may look like they originate from a well-known supplier of directory advertising, when they don’t. 

An office supply scam involves you receiving and being charged for goods that you did not order. These scams often involve goods or services that you regularly order - for example, paper, printing supplies, maintenance supplies or advertising.

You might receive a phone call from someone falsely claiming to be your "regular supplier", telling you that the offer is a "special" or "available for a limited time", or pretending to only confirm your address or existing order. If you agree to buy any of the supplies offered to you, they will often be overpriced and of bad quality.

Protect yourself:

  • Make sure that the people processing the invoices or answering telephone calls are aware of these scams. They will most often be the point of contact for the scammers. Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice.

  • Never give out or update any information about your business unless you know what the information will be used for.

  • Don’t agree to a business proposal over the phone - always ask for an offer in writing. Limit the number of people in your business that have access to funds and have the authority to approve purchases.

  • Effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing these scams from succeeding. Having clearly defined procedures for the verification, payment and management of accounts and invoices is an effective defence against these types of scams.

  • Ask yourself if a caller claims that I have ordered or authorized something and I do not think it sounds right, shouldn’t I ask for proof?

 

Charity Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 7:47 AM

poor personCharity scams take advantage of people’s generosity and kindness by asking for donations to a fake charity or by impersonating a real charity.

Philanthropy misrepresentation is the demonstration of utilizing trickiness to get cash from individuals who accept they are making gifts to philanthropies. Frequently a man or a gathering of individuals will make material representations that they are a philanthropy or piece of a philanthropy and approach imminent givers for commitments to the non-existent philanthropy. Philanthropy misrepresentation incorporates imaginary foundations as well as misleading business acts. Beguiling business acts incorporate organizations tolerating gifts and not utilizing the cash for its planned purposes.

Charity scams involve scammers collecting money by pretending to be a real charity. The scammers can approach you in many different ways - on the street, at your home, over the phone, or on the Internet. Emails and collection boxes may even be marked with the logos of genuine charities.

Often, the scammer will exploit a recent natural disaster or famine that has been in the news. Other scammers play on your emotions by pretending to be from charities that help children who are ill.

Scammers can try to pressure you to give a donation and refuse to provide details about the charity, such as their address or their contact details. In other cases, they may simply provide false information.

Not only do these scams cost people money; they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes. All registered charities in Canada are overseen by the Canada Revenue Agency and listed in its database. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information about the organizations that interest you. If the charity is genuine and you want to make a donation, get the charity’s contact details from the phone book or a trusted website.

If you do not want to donate any money, or you are happy with how much you may have donated to charities already, simply ignore the email or letter, hang up the phone, or say no to the person at your door. You do not have to give any money at all.

Protect yourself:

  • If you have any doubts at all about the person asking for money, do not give them any cash, credit card or bank account details.

  • Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

  • If in doubt, approach an aid organization directly to make a donation or offer support

  • Search the databases to check that the charity that has approached you is genuine.

  • Ask yourself about how and to whom would I like to make a contribution?

 

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AboutMe

I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

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