March is Fraud Awareness Month and on March 5 the Carlyle Branch of The Royal Bank of Canada held a seminar on ways to lower the chance of becoming a victim.
Giving the presentation was Branch Manager Kelsey Rekken. Also present to speak on the problem of fraud in the community was Constable Pike of the Carlyle RCMP Detachment.
From January of 2014 to December 2016 fraud cost Canadians $290 million. There is one attempt each day at the Carlyle Branch of the RBC to defraud in some manner.
Information booklets, as well as a slide presentation, covered various topics on how to recognize and protect oneself.
Fraud can happen by numerous means and identifying how to spot suspicious activity can lower the chance of it happening to you.
Cyber and online fraud are very common and can occur while using computers and mobile devices. Commonly the fraudsters steal a person’s identity by gaining that person’s trust and preying on their curiosity and fears.
Methods that are used to enable fraud include compromising passwords, gain credit and debit card information, social engineering, installing malware, identity theft and financial abuse.
The best way to stay safe is to do research on what you can do to protect yourself and be able to recognize the different ways that you can be defrauded.
Email scams (phishing and spoofing) provide opportunity for the fraudster by using fake emails to lure individuals into giving out personal information.
Phone and messaging scams (vishing and smishing) convince individuals to send money over the phone by using information they have collected on you to gain your trust, or urgent calls to update personal information.
Social media scams on sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can extract personal information on people when answering quizzes or unidentified friend requests.
Mallware installed by cybor criminals on your online devices enable security breaches. There is a malware attack every 39 seconds in Canada. If your device is doing something abnormal or uncommon, have it checked by your provider and/or use a secure anti-virus program.
Identity theft is a common fraud used by gaining access to personal information, opening accounts or securing loans in your name. It is important to dispose of all documents in a way that leaves no legible personal information. Shredding of statements, old bills etc. is a good way to reduce risk.
Financial abuse is one other common way people can be compromised. This is a fraud that occurs when your money or your property is improperly used. This occurs when someone of trust is given access to your money that you may have had running errands if you were ill or disabled.
Constable Pike has taken courses on preventing fraud talked of some of the key things you can do to protect yourself. Always do your banking in a safe place, create complicated pins using numbers, letters and symbols. Do not check unfamiliar emails or links, and always log out of online sites. Any suspicious activity can be reported to the RCMP or other law enforcement agency and suspicious emails can be forwarded to The Canadian Anti Fraud Website. Turning your computer off or disconnecting from the Internet prevents scammers from accessing your computer.
Fraudsters prey on fear, anxiety and curiosity.
Banks use strict privacy policies, invest in new technologies, 24/7 fraud experts available, providing 100% online security and education for the consumer.