Identity Theft refers to the collection or acquisition of someone else’s personal information to conduct other criminal activities. Identity Theft can occur through the telephone, email, regular mail or the internet.
Identity Fraud is the actual use of another person’s information, living or deceased, in connection with fraud. This includes impersonation and the misuse of debit or credit card data.
Fraudsters use a range of techniques to acquire a consumer’s identity. It can be as simple as obtaining personal information through a dumpster dive, direct call or through sophisticated means using technology such as phishing, skimming, malware, spyware and viruses.
While consumers may not suffer immediate financial losses, they can spend hours alerting financial institutions and the credit bureaus. In addition, they may have difficulty obtaining credit or re‐establishing a good credit rating in the future.
Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself
Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls or mail asking for personal or financial information.
Be aware of creditors or collection agency calls about an application or account you do not have.
Stay current. Check your bank and credit card statements monthly and report any suspicious activity. Report any missing mail or statements right away.
Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages stating you have a refund and asking to enter your personal or financial information to deposit the money.
Properly dispose all personal and financial documents (i.e. shredding).
Obtain a free credit report (available once a year) through the two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.
Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages demanding payment.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre at 1‐888‐495‐8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca .
This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified, copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.
It’s peak moving season. Students are leaving the nest; parents are helping them find the right place. Beware: if a rental listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. School might not have started yet, but do your homework and learn to recognize rental scams.
In a typical rental scam, fraudsters will entice you with a very attractive listing: sought after area, great amenities and low price. Ads will be posted on popular sites like Kijiji or Facebook. Scammers may use photos from an old listing, from a house that’s up for sale, or from short-term rental sites like Airbnb, to make it look authentic. They pose as the landlord and may claim to be abroad and unable to meet in person to show you inside the place.
After a few emails or text messages, they will start asking for money. First, they’ll try to get a security deposit, then, they’ll ask for the first month’s rent, and then another month’s rent in exchange for a discount. They can even try to rush you into a decision by saying that others are also interested in the property. Don’t give in. It could be a scam.
Here are some warning signs to look out for when shopping for a rental:
the monthly rent is lower than other similar places
you're asked to leave a deposit without any formal rental agreement or lease in place
you're asked to send money to someone outside the country
when you ask about the apartment, you get an email that sends you to a website asking for personal or financial information
ads show pictures of the outside of the property only, or pictures that don't match the actual property or address
Here’s what you can do to avoid being scammed:
Go to the address, make sure the listing is truthful and accurate. If you are unable to go in person, use the Internet to see actual images of the rental.
Research the address to ensure it is not a duplicate post. You may even conduct a reverse image search to see if the photos were used elsewhere.
Schedule a showing and confirm that the landlord will be present.
If you plan on renting in a new development, contact the builder to confirm ownership.
Request a lease or contract. Review it thoroughly.
If you’ve been the victim of a rental scam or another type of fraud, or if you have information about this type of scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), the RCMP or your local police.
New Brunswickers are being targeted with extortion scam emails with a new twist – one aimed at making it more likely they will be scared into paying a blackmail fee.
Extortion scams refer to any person who unlawfully tries to obtain money, property or services from a person, entity or institution through coercion.
In this latest version, the victim receives an email suggesting they have been recorded through their webcam while they watched adult websites. The scam artist demands a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin within a certain time period, with the threat to circulate the recording to the victim’s social media and email contacts if payment is not made. The new twist to this old scam is that the email references a real password that the victim may have used in the past, which gives it the appearance of legitimacy.
How to recognize this type of Scam
The email may:
begin with: “I’m aware that <password formerly used by victim> is your password.” The scammer has likely harvested emails and previously used passwords from the dark web, or has gained access to a list of compromised passwords from a data breach.
try to convince the victim not to report the email to police or to tell anyone why they are purchasing Bitcoin.
be poorly written and contain grammatical mistakes.
What to do if you receive an email like this:
If you receive a similar email, ignore it and don’t reply to it. Stay calm, don’t panic and do report it.
Do not click any links or open any attachments to the email. They would likely install malware or ransomware on your device.
If you are still using the password referenced in the email, change it.
Tips to protect yourself online:
Disable your webcam or any other camera connected to the Internet when you are not using it. Hackers are able to obtain remote access and record if certain malware has been installed on your computer.
Use a reliable antivirus program.
Use strong and unique passwords. Check out this cybersecurity tip for good password management.
FRAUD ALERT: Cavendish Beach Music Festival Ticket Scam
Beware of scammers selling duplicate tickets on online classified sites
Deals can be steals in disguise
RCMP are warning people to be cautious about buying tickets to the Cavendish Beach Music Festival posted for sale on classified websites, such as Kijiji. The Mounties are investigating a case of fraud in P.E.I. involving tickets being resold online to this year’s annual festival. Another scam involves fraudsters selling campground sites that don’t exist.
How this scam works
A private, online seller posts an ad for tickets to the popular summer festival or a booked campsite at a reduced cost or best offer. Money is exchanged and the tickets are sent to the buyer electronically. However, the seller is selling the same electronic ticket multiple times. In the P.E.I. case, the tickets were never sent. In the campsite scam, the money is transferred, but the campsite booking is fake.
How you should protect yourself?
The best way to avoid these scams is to be aware of them in the first place. The RCMP also recommend asking for a copy of the seller’s identification should the tickets prove to be duplicates or having the seller transfer the tickets into the buyer’s name.
The difference between an illegal pyramid scheme and a legitimate multi-level marketing plan
June 27, 2018 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
Do you dream of being your own boss and setting your own hours? Are you trying to find the perfect side-gig that will increase your bank balance? A multi-level marketing plan is one option that you may come across. Contrary to popular belief, they are not the same as pyramid schemes. While the first is completely legal, the second is not.
If you join a multi-level marketing plan, you essentially become a salesperson of goods such as jewellery, health supplements or beauty products. At the same time, you can recruit others to expand the network. As your business grows, you get opportunities to earn more and more money. All along, the focus is on earning money by selling your products.
Pyramid schemes look a lot like their legal cousin but traditionally focus on generating profits by recruiting others. Often, you are encouraged to pay large membership fees upfront to join. The only way for you to make any money is to convince more people to join the scam and give up their hard-earned money. People are often persuaded to join by family members or friends.
Before signing up:
Research the business: check different websites, consult many reviews. If something seems fishy, walk away.
Beware of multi-level marketing plans that promote huge profits using only their highest earners as examples.
Know that they must disclose the compensation actually received or likely to be received by a typical participant.
Watch out for plans that:
have compensation plans focused on recruiting new members.
don't include a reasonable buy-back guarantee or refund policy, allowing you to send back your extra products at the end of your career. If they don’t provide it proactively, ask to see it. Plan operators have to tell you about it.
force you into buying excessive quantities of products.
Don’t be fooled by “get rich quick” promises. These plans often end-up requiring just as much work as any other job.
Promises of financial freedom with minimal effort are always enticing. But success stems from hard work, determination and doing your research. Before you sign up, be sure the opportunity is right for you. Avoid plans that don't provide all the details or could be pyramid schemes.
If you have information about an illegal pyramid scheme or any other type of fraud, report it to the Competition Bureau.