10 Things You Should Know About Telemarketing Fraud
In recent months, there have been several well publicized telephone scams targeting seniors.
The fraudsters sound convincing – claiming to be a grandchild in urgent need, a legitimate company seeking “only” to update your contact information or to advise you have won a prize.
This has lead to further telemarketing calls and letters and worse, identity theft and financial loss.
There are several ways to protect yourself from being a telemarketing fraud victim.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the call, email or letter was not solicited by you, that is a good indication that the call is a fraud attempt.
- Always review your credit and bank statements upon receiving them. Immediately report any charges you do not recognize to your financial institution.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, including account numbers, social insurance numbers, passwords or PIN numbers. Even if the person claims they are a representative from a banking or government institution, always remember that legitimate businesses would not ask for this information.
- Never use the telephone numbers provided by callers to contact them. Use the telephone book or the operator to obtain numbers of businesses or organizations you wish to contact.
- Never give out any information or send money to a stranger – even if the name sounds legitimate. Fraudsters often use familiar or well-established names in order to gain your trust, such as Yellow Pages or Westjet.
- Do not pay to collect your winnings and do not give out your credit card information to someone who has contacted you about a prize. Legitimate sweepstakes or contests don’t require up front tax payments, or charge insurance, delivery or other fees to collect a prize.
- Another prize scam is an unsolicited cheque in the mail with the instructions that in order to receive your prize you must deposit the cheque and wire back a portion of the funds to cover fees or taxes. You should never have to spend money in order to win a prize.
- If the request for funds or information is made urgently or with any pressure tactics, hang up. A legitimate business would not expect you to endure that type of solicitation.
- Always remember that it is better to end the communication before the fraudster has a chance to ask you questions or have you agree to anything. Again, if you feel pressured or confused, hang up. Often these phone calls are recorded and manipulated to be later used to pressure you to pay a fee or invoice they say you have agreed to.
- If you have received any suspicious calls or letters, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or your local police detachment.
If you have been a victim of fraud, a lawyer can help you understand your rights. If you would like advice or for more information regarding such matters please contact Chahal Priddle LLP at 250-372-3233 to set up an appointment today.