Anti-Fraud – Recognize It!

Protect yourself from fraud: Recognize it! Reject it! Report it!

Be Vigilant. Avoid These Scams

Anti-Virus Scam
Company representatives contact you stating they are from Microsoft or another virus protection company and they are aware your computer is running slow or has viruses.  They offer to repair the computer over the internet which can involve installation of software or allowing these representatives remote access to your computer.  Keylogger software or other malware may be installed.  Payment for these services is often handled by credit card, wire transfer or PayPal which could lead to other forms of fraud.

Emergency/Grandparent Scam
A grandparent receives a phone call from a fraudster who claims to be one of his or her grandchildren.  The caller indicates he/she is in trouble and needs money immediately.  They insist they want it to be kept secret as they don’t want other family members finding out.  The victim (grandparent) sends money via a money transfer service (e.g. Western Union) but rather than sending to the intended family member, the funds are wired to the fraudster.  Victims don’t verify the story until after the money has been sent and once sent, it’s almost impossible to trace/get back.

False Charities
If an unfamiliar charity organization contacts you, be careful.  Bogus charities often use names that are close to legitimate and respected charities.  If you receive a phone call, ask for information to be sent in writing.  Ask where the funds will be directed to.

Identity Theft/Identity Fraud
Someone steals your personal information (e.g. SIN, driver’s license, passport) and then uses that information to steal money or gain other benefits.  Once your personal information is obtained the fraudster is in a position to attempt to access your accounts, take out loans, and apply for credit cards or other identification documents under your name.  It can take a victim a long time to recover from the financial turmoil and to clear their name.

Inheritance/Advance Fee
A wealthy stranger has passed away and you receive an email or letter from a stranger who asks for your help by moving money to your bank account.  You may be asked to be a trustee or stand in as an heir of the deceased’s fortune.  For your help, you will receive a percentage of the money.  You just need to provide your banking details for the funds to move through your account. Legitimate estates don’t solicit trustees or heirs in this manner. 

Job Scam
The “mystery shopper” scam is an example of a job scam.  You answer an ad to become a mystery shopper. The “employer” sends you a letter with instructions for you to accomplish.  You are advised to cash a cheque, use some of those funds to make purchases at certain locations and keep a small percentage as payment for your work.  The next step is for you to wire the remaining funds back to the “employer”.  The cheque that was cashed is counterfeit and you are out the funds.

Multi-Level Business/Pyramid/Ponzi Schemes
Real products may be sold.  You pay an amount to enrol and are required to recruit others.  New dealers pay enrolment fees which you keep a percentage of.  As the number of layers increase, newer recruits find it difficult to sell products and to find new recruits.  You are left with inventory you cannot sell and you may not fully recover the initial amount you paid.

Overpayment/Cheque Overpayment
You receive payment for an item that you are selling and it is considerably more than the sale price.  The payment document/cheque looks authentic.  You are told to deposit the funds, keep enough for the item and shipping costs and immediately wire the balance back to the purchaser or the purchaser’s agent or shipper. The payment document you deposit is fake with no funds available and you will be without the funds you wired when the cheque is returned.  Never accept a cheque for more than your selling price and never agree to wire funds back to the buyer.

Pharming
Pharming occurs when hackers use a malicious code on your PC which compromises your computer’s host file and redirects you to fake websites.  Once on the fake website, you’re asked to enter your online banking credentials or account information which hackers will take and use for criminal activity.

Phishing/Smishing/Vishing
Someone attempts to acquire sensitive information such as your password or credit card number by posing as a trustworthy source, generally through email (phishing), mobile devices/text (smishing) or phone calls (vishing).  Victims are directed to fraudulent websites, links or phone numbers which are designed to steal personal/sensitive information.  Ads/notices may include warnings about account closures, requests to update information, offers to register for a new service, offers for pre-approved credit cards, and free virus protection programs.

Prize Pitch/Windfall Payments
You are told you have won a major prize or inherited a large estate.  To receive the funds you must first pay the taxes or some other fee so the scammer sends you a cheque to cover these expenses.  You are to deposit the cheque and then immediately wire the funds back to the bank account provided.  The cheque you deposit is fake with no funds available and you will be ‘out’ the funds wired when the cheque is returned.  In a legitimate contest or lottery, you do not have to purchase a product or pay a fee to qualify for a prize.

Recovery Pitch
If you buy into a Prize Pitch, you will likely be contacted by someone promising to help get your money back.  A caller may claim they are law enforcement and they will help you recover your money for a small fee or they may claim they are with the company that promised you the prize, and they will help you get it if you pay some related charges.

Romance
You may be contacted by a fraudster while visiting legitimate chat rooms or dating services.  In these types of scams the fraudster works at gaining your trust and affection and after establishing a relationship, attempts to gain access to your money, credit card information or bank accounts. 

Service Scam
Any false, deceptive or misleading promotion of services.  Third parties make offers for telecommunication, internet, finance, medical and energy services which could offer extended warranties, insurance and sales.  Bogus renewal notices for newspapers or magazines or bogus warranties are types of service scams. 

Skimming
The information contained on the magnetic stripe of your card is stolen and illegally copied to create a fake card.  The fake card is used to run up charges and to withdraw money from your account.  Skimming can also be the first step in the commission of identity theft.

Practice Prevention: Avoid Becoming a Victim of Fraud

As your financial institution, Kindred Credit Union will not ask you to provide, confirm or update personal records by unsecure email or unsolicited telephone calls. If you receive such requests do not respond to them.

Stay informed about fraud and its prevention by using available resources including Kindred's Protect Yourself From Fraud brochure (available at your branch).

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it likely is, so walk away.

Immediately report any fraud to your local police, financial institution and credit bureau agency.  Ask the credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit bureau report.

For more information, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Canada Revenue Agency.

Debit and Credit Cards

  • Debit and Credit cards are common in today’s marketplace.  They reduce the need to carry cash and offer many benefits and conveniences.
  • Only provide credit card information if you have initiated the transaction.  Do not provide information to someone who contacts you.
  • Never disclose your PIN to anyone, never write it down, and always use your hand to shield your PIN when entering it.
  • If uncomfortable with an ATM’s surroundings, go to another ATM or go inside the branch to complete your transaction.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, notify your financial institution immediately.

Email 
Email is quick and convenient. Email is fast and can be delivered at once to anyone around the world. However, email is not secure and you need to be careful about what details and information you provide in an email.  Follow these tips for safe sending/receiving:

  • Your financial institution will not ask you to provide, confirm, or update personal records by unsecure email; do not comply with these requests.  If you receive phone calls, emails or texts that request sensitive information, hang up on the phone calls and delete emails and text messages of this nature.
  • Never use a link provided in an unsolicited email to access your online banking. Don’t use web page links in an email if you suspect the message, email or website might not be authentic.
  • Never respond to unsolicited emails.  Do not open emails or email attachments from unknown sources. 
  • Scan email through your anti-virus software first.
  • Turn off the “viewing pane” on your email; just viewing the email could send a notice to the sender that your email is a valid address.
  • Many fraudulent emails and texts contain misspellings, incorrect grammar and poor punctuation and often use generic salutations like ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘Dear Account Holder’ instead of your name.
  • Be aware that fake documents can look authentic.  Be wary of communications that convey a sense of urgency or requests money or access to your computer.

Internet
The internet offers a variety of benefits to those of us who use it.  It has become a part of everyday life from banking to shopping to education and has evolved into one of the most powerful sources of information.  You need to ensure that the information that you access and share over the internet is protected.

  • Take proper steps to protect your computer.  This can include installing anti-spyware programs, anti-virus programs, personal firewalls, etc.
  • Avoid using public computers to do Internet banking or online shopping.  When using a public computer, clear the history and cache when you finish your session.
  • Deal only with familiar websites.
  • Use complex passwords containing letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Always type your financial institution’s website address directly into your browser and remember to look for confirmation that you’re browsing securely.  The letter “s” in https indicates you are navigating in a secure site.  Look for the https when shopping online and any other time you are submitting sensitive information through your web browser
  • When sending e-transfers through MemberDirect online banking, ensure your sender profile contains your most recent email address (Transfer Funds -> Send INTERAC e-Transfer -> Edit Sender Profile).  This will help prevent transfers from being blocked.
  • Always remove or completely erase the hard drive and memory when disposing of old computers.

Money  
Money pays for the things we need and the things we want.  Your money is hard earned and you want to keep it safe.

  • Check your credit union, bank or credit card accounts daily using telephone and/or Internet banking and immediately report transactions you don’t recognize.
  • Always check paper statements (eg. credit union, bank, credit card, utility bill) and immediately report transactions you don’t recognize.
  • Periodically check your credit reports and report any irregularities promptly to relevant financial institutions and credit bureaus.
  • Don’t accept a cheque or money order for payment that is more than what you agreed on.
  • Avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you do not know.
  • If you are unsure about a charity asking for donations, search CRA databases to check that the charity is genuine.
  • When investing, only deal with qualified firms that you know.  Be cautious of anyone pressuring you to invest quickly.
  • If you’re unsure about a business, call the Better Business Bureau and/or the Competition Bureau, check the yellow pages or drive by their offices.
  • Don’t provide banking details to anyone you do not know or trust.

Protect Your Identity
Your identity is who you are. Your personal information is used to obtain forms of identification, open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, purchase property, assume debt and carry out business dealings. Be careful about sharing your information and where your information is stored.

  • Never carry identification documents such as birth certificate, social insurance card or passport unless you plan to use them.  Always keep them locked away when not being used.  If you take these documents with you, keep a photocopy of them at home.
  • Shred documents containing personal information before throwing them away.
  • Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit cards and utility bills.
  • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal information.
  • Ensure your mailbox is secured; pick up sensitive documents in person; follow up on bills and statements that don’t arrive.
  • When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions.

Shopping Online (E-Shopping)
Online shopping is very convenient – there are no lines and no crowds, but it can also be a haven for fraudsters.  Consider the following tips when using your credit cards online to ensure your information stays secure:

  • When you are asked to enter your credit card details online, ensure you are shopping at a trusted retailer.
  • Use your credit cards only on e-commerce websites that use secure browsing technology on the screens where you enter your card information. 
  • Ensure that smaller retailers requesting credit card details have reputable contact details, a physical address and you feel comfortable with providing them your card information.
  • Provide retailers with only the necessary details to complete the transaction.  These include your credit card number, expiry date, the security code on the back of your credit card, and the card’s billing information. 
  • Never give your account or credit card details to individuals selling goods via online sales websites.
  • Never provide your social insurance number, account details or your mother’s maiden name.
  • For shopping sites that require you to register with a username and password, we recommend you do not use your online banking PAC.
  • If you choose to shop online or participate in online auctions, make sure you read about refund policies and dispute handling processes.  Be careful you aren’t overcharged.

Wi-Fi 
These days, everyone is on the go and it’s not uncommon to access Wi-Fi at coffee shops, hotels, restaurants or airports. Using wireless networks to access information is convenient, but not risk-free. Be smart when you surf.  Protect yourself from threats as follows:

  • Use only a trusted computer to access your online banking.  Don’t use shared library or café computers.
  • Manage your online banking only from secure networks.  We recommend that you don’t use unsecured public networks for anything sensitive.
  • Connect only to password-protected networks.  If there are several networks available, ask employees of the organization which network they operate.
  • Never leave your computer unattended, especially if you’re logged into online banking.
  • Use different PACs and security questions as login credentials.  If someone obtains your credentials for one site, such as a social networking site, you don’t want them to be able to access you other ones.
  • Ensure you log out before you close your browsers.

 

 
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