Fraud hurts our pocketbooks and, often, our pride. Sometimes, it even prevents us from reaching out for help because we feel shame for falling victim to these kinds of crimes. However, it’s important to know that we are not alone in the process.
A recent article published on the RCMP webpage, states “fraud-related offences are now thought to be as profitable as drug-related offences, estimated at between $10 and $30 billion annually in Canada alone.” Of these crimes, 80 per cent or more are conducted by criminal organizations.
The impact on individuals is disheartening, as years of savings can be lost in seconds. However, there are ways to go about securing your finances to stop the threat before it occurs. Fraud Prevention Month is an annual event that gives private and public organizations involved in the fight against fraud an opportunity to further raise public awareness.
“While the spotlight is on fraud during the month of March, it’s important to be vigilant about it all year-long,” RCMP Superintendent Steve Foster, Director of the RCMP Commercial Crime Branch, said in a statement. “Being cautious isn’t something to be ashamed of. Whether you’re shielding your PIN number from view or asking questions of telemarketers, don’t be afraid of offending people who are asking for your money.”
Here are some Fraud Prevention Tips provided by the Royal Bank of Canada website:
- Keep personal information confidential: Do not give out personal information over the phone, through email or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact and know whom you’re dealing with.
- Keep your personal information safe: An identity thief will pick through your garbage or recycling bins, so be sure to shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms et cetera.
- Protect your PIN and passwords: Do not reveal your PIN or passwords to anyone, including employees, family members and friends.
- Unusual transactions: Beware of “Too Good To Be True” offers. Be wary of unexpected offers or requests that are “too good to be true” such as “you’ve inherited a large sum of money but in order to claim it, send us a deposit first”.
- Contact the authorities: If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately.
It’s never wrong to be careful when it comes to the safety and security of your finances. Be cautious, report any suspicious activity and hopefully the time will come when these fraudulent offences will dissipate. Stay safe!