Don’t let a Grinch steal your hol­i­days

Be aware of many scams cur­rently out there

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - Con­tact Sharon El­liott at 902- 665- 4481 or Sharon. el­[email protected] rcmp- grc. gc. ca

While most peo­ple were busy giv­ing gifts this time of year, a handful of greedy Grinches were out to fleece the un­sus­pect­ing and take ad­van­tage of their Christ­mas spirit.

Staff- Sgt. Ed Hub­bard at the An­napo­lis Dis­trict RCMP, and Se­niors Safety Pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Sharon El­liott sent out their an­nual news­let­ter re­cently and of­fered some ad­vice on avoid­ing scams and frauds.

“On be­half of the An­napo­lis Dis­trict RCMP, I would like to join Sharon in ex­tend­ing our warm­est wishes to ev­ery­one for a safe and happy hol­i­day sea­son,” said Hub­bard. “While this may be the most fes­tive sea­son of the year, it is also a time when we heighten our crime pre­ven­tion ef­forts.”

He said un­for­tu­nately many scam­mers and fraud­sters take ad­van­tage of the hol­i­days with ex­tra scams that have hol­i­day twists.

“We hope our news­let­ter will help you stay well in­formed, and able to en­joy a safe and scam­free hol­i­day and year ahead,” he said.

Fol­low­ing are some tips on how to stay safe from scams:

Hol­i­day scams – Watch out for scam­mers prey­ing on hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties, for ex­am­ple, claim­ing there is a prob­lem with your Canada Post par­cel, gift de­liv­ery, credit card pay­ment, on­line pur­chase, PayPal ac­count, travel ar­range­ments, and even air­line ticket. Al­ways make your own in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied con­tact with a busi­ness or ser­vice be­fore be­liev­ing a mes­sage from an un­known caller or email mes­sage.

CRA tax pay­ment scams – Many res­i­dents are re­ceiv­ing ag­gres­sive tele­phone mes­sages warn­ing they owe money to Rev­enue Canada and pay­ment must be made im­me­di­ately to avoid a fine, a po­lice ar­rest, or even de­por­ta­tion. Scam­mers will try to have you make a pay­ment through a money ser­vice busi­ness ( such as West­ern Union), pre­paid debit/ credit cards, or even iTunes cards or Google Play cards. Don’t pay. It’s a scam.

CRA tax re­fund scams – Scam­mers are also rep­re­sent­ing them­selves as agents with Rev­enue Canada and con­tact­ing res­i­dents by phone and by email to in­form them they have a re­fund pend­ing. These crimin- als will try to get your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in or­der to pro­vide your re­fund. Don’t share your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Caller ID spoof­ing – Scam­mers have the tech­nol­ogy to hide their real iden­tity and pro­duce a fake tele­phone num­ber and name in your call dis­play to trick you into pro­vid­ing per­sonal or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion. Re­cently, scam­mers spoofed the Bridgetown RCMP phone num­ber and had it show­ing when plac­ing fraud­u­lent calls. Do not rely on call dis­play to con­firm the le­git­i­macy of a caller. Al­ways ver­ify phone num­bers in­de­pen­dently be­fore shar­ing any in­for­ma­tion.

Sur­vey and con­test scams – While on­line, watch out for pop- up sur­veys, con­tests, and pro­mo­tions of­fer­ing you quick and easy chances to win amaz­ing prod­ucts, cash, trips and op­por­tu­ni­ties. These scams can pop- up while you are on le­git­i­mate sites, so don’t let that drop your guard and lull you into a false sense that the popup is a le­git­i­mate of­fer.

Credit card scams – Watch out for scam­mers call­ing or email­ing you with in­for­ma­tion that there has been an in­cor­rect charge or fraud­u­lent use of your credit that has been flagged by the se­cu­rity depart­ment. They will then try to get you to ver­ify you are in re­ceipt of your card by hav­ing you read the card num­ber and se­cu­rity in­for­ma­tion on the back. Don’t do it. It’s a scam to steal your credit card in­for­ma­tion, not pro­tect it.

Bank­ing scams – Watch out for scam­mers call­ing un­der the fa­cade of con­duct­ing a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into sus­pi­cious bank­ing prac­tices and need­ing your help. These scam­mers will try to talk you into pro­vid­ing your per­sonal bank­ing in­for­ma­tion to set up or get into your on­line bank­ing, or have you send or wire pay­ments back to the scam­mer. Re­mem­ber, never share your per­sonal bank­ing in­for­ma­tion.

iTunes Cards/ Google play cards/ pre­paid credit or debit cards – It is a scam if any­one calls and asks you to pur­chase these cards to then scratch and read the num­bers off the back. Don’t do it.

Emer­gency scams – Watch out for a call or email from some­one pos­ing as a friend or fam­ily mem­ber who claims to have an emer­gency need for cash. Don’t panic and don’t send money. Con­tact your fam­ily first as you’ll most likely find this to be a scam.

Email and web­site fraud – Watch out for emails that at first glance ap­pear to be from a le­git­i­mate busi­ness ( such as your bank, phone com­pany, PayPal, iTunes, etc…) or even a friend. It is very com­mon for scam­mers to make small changes in le­git­i­mate web or email ad­dresses to trick you into dis­clos­ing your per­sonal or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion for the pur­pose of fi­nan­cial fraud or iden­tity theft.

“Free” can be a dan­ger­ous word on­line – Be aware of on­line of­fers for “free” trial pe­ri­ods of “amaz­ing” prod­ucts. All you pay is for ship­ping and han­dling. But, buried in the fine print, in colour that washes into the back­ground, are terms that ob­li­gate you to pay $ 15, $79, $99… a month in on-go­ing fees for on-go­ing prod­ucts.

Your com­puter is in­fected – Watch out for pop-up win­dows alert­ing you your com­puter has been in­fected and prompt­ing you to click a link that will run a scan or up­grade your anti-virus soft­ware. Click­ing un­known links can in­stall ma­li­cious soft­ware giv­ing thieves ac­cess to your on- line in­for­ma­tion – emails, bank­ing and credit card in­for­ma­tion, and the abil­ity to steal your money and iden­tity.

Search­ing on­line for help to fix your com­puter – Can lead you right to a ma­li­cious web­site or phone num­ber with a scam­mer on the line. On­line search re­sults can al­ways present a risk if you be­gin click­ing links that take you into the un­known. Re­mem­ber, look closely at the web ad­dresses you ac­cess so that you are fa­mil­iar with those you know are le­git and bet­ter at­tuned to those that are sus­pi­cious. If you do be­gin a con­ver­sa­tion or com­puter in­ter­ac­tion that starts to make you con­cerned – end it im­me­di­ately.

Please call any­time if you have a ques­tion or con­cern on:

• Per­sonal safety and home se­cu­rity tips

• Con­sumer frauds and scams – pre­ven­tion tips

• In­ter­net safety and se­cu­rity • Iden­tity theft pre­ven­tion • Safe­guard­ing your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion

• Se­niors & the law

• The Vial of Life

• Se­nior abuse and pre­ven­tion aware­ness

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