How to Protect Yourself Against Fraud and Scams

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Don’t Be Pressured

Fraudsters often try to rush you into making decisions without proper consideration.

  • Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics and don't be afraid to say “NO”.
  • Never make snap decisions. If you are being pressured with words like “have to act fast,” or “don’t miss this opportunity,” it’s probably a scam.
  • Request any information in writing.
  • If a telemarketer tries to get you to buy something or to send them money right away: Hang up.
  • Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.

Guard Personal Information

Think twice before sharing personal information online or over the phone.

  • Beware of unsolicited calls where you are being asked for personal information, such as:
    • Your name
    • Your address
    • Your birthdate
    • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
    • Your credit card or banking information
  • If you didn't make the call, you don't know who you're talking to.
  • Don't reveal personal information over social media.
  • Shred financial statements, credit card offers, and other documents containing personal information before throwing them out.

Protect Your Online Accounts

By taking the following steps, you can better protect your online accounts from fraud and data breaches:

  • Protect your online accounts with strong, unique passwords. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdates or names.
  • Use different passwords for different websites, accounts and devices.
  • Ensure your home Wi-Fi network is password- protected to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication for an additional layer of security on your accounts.
  • Only log into your accounts from trusted sources.
  • Keep your computer, smartphone and other devices updated with the latest security patches.
  • Be extra careful when using public networks. Your data are vulnerable when passing through public spaces with open wireless networks.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachment from unknown or suspicious email.

Do Your Research

Always verify the identity of the person or organization contacting you.

  • Before investing, research thoroughly and verify the legitimacy of the investment and the individuals or firms involved. Visit CIRO’s Avoiding Fraud and Protecting Your Investments section for more information.
  • If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, check the details with an independent source (registered financial adviser, lawyer or accountant). If they can’t support it, something’s not right.
  • Verify Canadian charities with the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Verify collection agencies with the appropriate provincial agency.
  • Look online for contact information for the company that called you, and call them back to confirm.
  • Verify any calls with your credit card company by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card.
  • When visiting a website, always verify the URL and domain to make sure you are on the official website.
  • Regularly review your client statements for any suspicious or unauthorized activity. Report discrepancies immediately.
  • Be cautious of fake testimonials. Con artists may pay people to post fake online reviews or appear in videos falsely claiming to have gotten rich from some investment opportunity.