Smith:March is fraud prevention month

Protection of private information is crucial to stopping identity theft.

In the good old days we knew our neighbours and friends better than we do today; we tended to have the same friends for many years and we trusted most of the people we knew.


The world has changed. We live in larger cities and come in contact with many different people on a daily basis.  We are now more susceptible to being taken

advantage of.


We should be aware we may be approached by a crook and become a victim of his or her scam at any time of the day or night.

Crooks take advantage of Internet and telephone fraud and are bold in their desire to rip us off.

Identity theft and phishing is on the rise in Canada.

Crooks try to get our personal information and banking information to steal our identity so they can assume our identity.  When they access our credit cards, they can rack up thousands of dollars in charges very quickly.

The computer has become a source of fraud.  Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details to steal money.

Cybercriminals can do this by installing malicious software on your computer or stealing personal information off computers. They might email you, call you on the phone, or convince you to download something from a website.

Be careful where you spend your money.

Scams involving online auctions, online classified ads and questionable online retailers continued to be a top complaint in 2012.  Whether you are a buy or a seller, you can end up with no merchandise and no cash.

Has a Nigerian or foreign diplomat contacted you asking for help? Do they want to get millions of dollars out of the country and need your assistance? They send out thousands of e-mail’s trying to get someone interested in participating with their plea for help.

Internet dating can be a financial disaster.  How about your new online love asking you for cash or airfare to meet you?  Or asking for cash because of financial need—without meeting you?  Crooks take advantage of rising divorce rates and the growing popularity of online dating sites to ply their trade.

Has anyone ever contacted you and said they were a friend of your son or grandson and told you they are in trouble and to send money right away?  Contact family members to find out what is going on with a family member—before you send money off to a stranger.

You receive a phone call announcing you have win a fabulous trip or a cash prize, but in order to get the prize you have to give away your information and pay to claim that prize you’ll never receive.

An investment scam involves the promise of a big payout on your investments.  Experts constantly remind people that there’s no such thing as a “get rich quick” scheme—not a legal one, anyway.

Do you answer the door and someone is trying to sell you their services of paving driveways or putting on new roofs.  Before you sign on the dotted line, check out their credentials and call their references.

Many incidents are never reported—some people are embarrassed they have been a victim of a scan and choose not to tell their family and closest friends.

We should always be vigilant to protect ourselves against the crooks who try to be a step ahead of us.

Doreen Smith is a certified financial planner with Capri Wealth Management Inc.




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