Protecting yourself and your loved ones against crimes like identity theft, credit card fraud, and so on comes down to more than awareness.
Sure, being aware of what these crimes mean is one step, but the second, more crucial step comes with understanding what do to when these crimes happen.
Being knowledgeable about how to protect yourself is what keeps you safe.
Nevertheless, remember that fraudsters are vigilant villains. They do not take days off, they have no boundaries, and they make a career out of targeting those most vulnerable (i.e. seniors and children).
That being said, if you or someone you know has fallen for one of the many scams thrown at us daily, don’t be critical.
Instead, encourage them to take the following steps:
- Gather all information about the fraud or scam (documents, receipts, copies of emails/text messages).
- Notify local police by filing a report about the fraud or scam and ensure you receive a report number for future reference. By reporting to the police, you make them aware of the scams targeting residents and businesses in the area.
- Get in-touch with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre who provides valuable assistance to law enforcement agencies by identifying connections among seemingly unrelated cases.
- Call your financial institutions to alert them of the fraud or scam (e.g. bank or credit union, money service business such as Western Union, credit card company, or internet payment service provider, and credit bureaus).
Note: If the fraud took place online through sites like Facebook, eBay, Kijiji, or a dating website, be sure to report the incident directly to the business. You can do this by clicking on “Report Abuse” or “Report an Ad”.
In the meantime, do your due diligence (say that three times fast) by limiting opportunities for fraud to occur. You may think paper is passé and the internet is totally rad, but identity thieves aren’t picky. Always shred pieces of paper that contain any personal information!