Fraudsters are creating increasingly sophisticated tactics to obtain our personal information and money. Email phishing, credit card scams and identity theft are just some of the scams out there, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself. It’s also important to know what to do if you’ve been scammed.
It can be hard to bring scammers to justice, as they often cover their tracks by using fake or stolen identities, made-up email addresses and disposable phone numbers. But you should always report a scam if you or someone you know falls victim to one.
Here are some tips to help you recover after you’ve become the victim of a scam:
- Report it to a law enforcement agency. Less than five per cent of fraud victims report their experiences to law enforcement agencies. Many don’t report because they feel embarrassed, but reporting helps keep others from experiencing the same thing. The best law enforcement agency to contact depends on where you live and the type of fraud you’ve experienced. If you’re not sure where to report, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and they will guide you.
Look for The Little Black Book of Scams. This handy book outlines widespread scams, offers tips on how to protect yourself and your hard-earned cash, and suggests ways to report a scam.
File a police report. Just as you would call the police if you were robbed on the street, if a criminal uses the internet to steal your money, it’s not any less of a crime. File a police report as soon as you can, but remember to call the non-emergency number for your local police department and ask for the fraud or computer-related crimes division.
Contact your bank or credit card company. If you’ve fallen victim to a scam involving money, be sure to contact your bank or credit card company as soon as possible so that they can freeze your cards and prevent any further charges. Credit card companies may also be able to reverse the transaction if they believe that your credit card was billed fraudulently. Banks also have policies that protect you from online losses, provided you’ve met certain requirements for safeguarding your information.
Update your anti-virus software. If you open up a suspicious email, the scammers who sent it may have embedded links within the message that could infect your computer. If this occurs, run a full system check on your computer with reliable software.
Find more information at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.