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Attention Millennials: You Are Being Scammed

With Canada’s 14th annual Fraud Prevention Month now underway, Credit Canada notes it’s no longer just seniors and newcomers who are special prey to fraudsters.

MARCH 16, 2018, TORONTO, ON – For this year’s Fraud Prevention Month, one of Canada’s leading advocates for financial literacy has news for any millennial who might be thinking that they are not a target. Increasingly, tech-savvy scammers are employing sophisticated methods to pick the pockets and bank accounts of anyone of any age or background.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Competition Bureau assessed that Canadians lost an estimated $290 million to fraudsters in the two-year period leading up to 2017. Credit card fraud has the highest incidence rate, followed by debit card fraud. While the criminals continue to employ traditional techniques such as telephone, emails, and in-person, they are increasingly using social media to deceive millennials. Despite being tech-smart, the demographic has such a strong presence on social media that they have become natural targets for scam artists.

Know the signs and take action

  • Do an online search of the company (i.e., Google Reviews) and see if anyone has suggested the offer is a scam.
  • Before sending any funds, contact the person who requested the transfer in-person or by telephone. Confirm the request is legitimate.
  • Beware of unusual email or online requests; don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails and research online requests for scams. 
  • Review credit card and bank statements regularly for unauthorized charges.
  • If you believe you are being scammed, or if you are the victim of a scam, report the matter to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).


Scams to watch out for this year:

Emergency Scam - Grandparent Scam – If you receive an email or call from someone claiming to be a friend or relative in urgent need of cash to get out of trouble, it's probably a scam.

Wire Fraud - Supplier Swindles - CEO Scam – This is a scam that targets businesses. In some instances, an employee receives an email from a high-ranking executive – often the CEO or the CFO. The email informs the employee that they need to transfer money quickly to close an important transaction. In other cases, an employee receives an email from a trusted supplier. The email informs the employee that an order has not been paid or that their account information has changed.

Extortion Scams – Extortionists are scammers who use every trick in the book to persuade you to give up money, services, or even property. They contact you by phone, text messages, emails, or social media messages. Once they have your attention, they lay out a sophisticated scenario in which you are left with what looks like only one sensible choice: To pay them. They can resort to threats against you, your family, your property, or your reputation. During tax season beware of calls claiming you owe the CRA and if you do not pay they will put a lien on your home. If you receive such a call and you are not sure if it is legitimate, hang up and contact the CRA directly.

Top scams that still need attention

Phishing – Phishing is a scam and, like its namesake, it has a hook: an email that looks and sounds legitimate, but isn't.

The Official Bank Scam – A fraudster tries to get sensitive financial information from you through an email that looks exactly like something from your bank.

Employment Scams – Scammers use online classified websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, and Workopolis to recruit potential victims. The most common scams include Mystery Shopper and HR/Administrative jobs.

Spoofed Websites – A spoofed website is a site that misleads consumers into thinking that it represents a specific business, financial institution, government or charity.

Ransomware – This is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer until a sum of money is paid by the victim.

Subscription Traps – These scams will always offer you a “free trial” or purchase of a product, while all you have to do is simply pay the shipping and handling fees using your credit card.

Fake Online Endorsements Consumers are often enticed to purchase a product or service based on fake reviews by apparently trustworthy people.

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