By Nithusa Sinnadurai, Staff Writer
Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been doing nothing but taking precautions. From wearing masks, to washing our hand at an exponential rate and maintaining the constant six feet of separation. Along with these regulations, Canadians must avoid falling victim to financial scams. As we approach the fourth month of 2021, the Canada Revenue Agency has already filed over 10,000 reports of fraud. In 2020 alone, Canadians have lost approximately $107.5 million. It is unfortunate that during such trying times, many fraudsters have taken advantage of vulnerable victims. According to the CPA Canada’s 2020 Fraud Survey, it was revealed that nearly 18% of participants were the unfortunate victims of credit card fraud. Canadians are not alone, as in just 2019, there was a worldwide loss of $28.65 billion to fraud. As online transactions start to increase, cyber scammers have expanded pools for victims to choose from. Here are some common scams people should be on the lookout for.
- Remember the Government of Canada will NOT be texting or emailing citizens to apply for or repay the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit
- In an attempt to intimidate individuals, scammers will call under the name of Service Canada in order to retrieve your Social Insurance Number, Passport Number, Bank account Number and/or your credit card information. Service Canada would only provide information to those who’ve requested their services.
In addition to Government Scams, in order to take advantage of peoples’ struggle to find work, scammers have started creating false job opportunities to extract personal information and money from hopeful candidates. They often deceive victims by creating websites, phone numbers and even going as far as hosting an interview. It can only be avoided if the candidates do their diligence by researching the company and by avoiding handing over personal details until the recruiter’s legitimacy is confirmed.
- Pyramid Schemes: In order to tempt citizens who are in need of quick money, pyramid scheme recruiters lure in their victims by asking them to sell products or services while also paying a membership fee. You earn this fee back by recruiting more people into the team thus increasing the pyramid.
- Money Mule: Some scammers recruit individuals to transfer stolen money from various different bank accounts, thus making it a challenge for the police to target the specific suspects. In other cases, recruitments are told to e-transfer a different company to pay for necessary work equipment, only to be given in return an ineligible, counterfeit cheque as a reimbursement.
It all comes boiling down to being careful as to who and where you’re giving your personal information to. Whether that be ensuring a company’s legitimacy before applying or refusing to provide your SIN number to a “government representative” accusing you of fraud. Although this March is Fraud Prevention month, let’s make sure we’re avoiding fraud every month.