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What To Do If You Become The Victim Of Fraud

If you become the victim of fraud, don’t be ashamed, it can happen to anyone. Financial fraud can cost you financial losses, potential identity theft and can take a long time to recover from. But you are not alone. We have here the steps you need to take to get your financial life back in order if you fall victim to fraud:

 

  • Take a deep breath and collect your thoughts.
  • Be aware of recovery fraud.
  • Contact your financial institutions.
  • Contact the police.
  • Report the incident.
  • Take steps to protect yourself in the future.

For more indepth information, please continue reading the rest of our newsletter. We will delve further into these points to better help you.

Collect Your Thoughts

It is nerve rattling and overwhelming when you realize you have been the victim of fraud. Your mind can begin to spin and panic set in stopping you from being able to think clearly and take the action you need. If this happens, you need to take deep breaths and calm yourself so you can focus. Once you have regained your thoughts you can begin to gather all the information you have on the
fraudsters:

 

  • Names, titles or positions used, Emails, text messages, letters exchanged between you and the fraudsters,
  • Any website addresses used, and screenshots taken of webpages and messages,
  • Any phone numbers that were given to you,
  • Any credit cards that were used, receipts and statements,
  • Any other forms or records of payment that were involved.
Beware Of Potential Recovery Fraud

Some fraudsters will target people who have just been frauded by way of “recovery fraud” or a “recovery pitch.” How it works is you could possibly be contacted by someone claiming to be a government official or someone who works for a recognized company or tech support claiming that they have recovered your stolen money or lost prize and can return it to you for an advanced fee. If you receive such a message, ignore it and collect all of the same information mentioned above to use in your report of the incident.

Contact Your Financial Institutions

Contact all of your financial institutions, banks, and credit card companies to make them aware of the fraud and put flags on your account so they can monitor for suspicious activities. They will possibly cancel your credit cards and issue you new ones. You will also want to change all your banking and credit card login passwords. Once you have reported it to all of your financial institutions you will want to report it to the credit bureaus Equifax and Transunion as well.

Call Your Local Police

After you have reported the incident to your financial institutions and credit bureaus, you will want to contact your local police. Provide them with as much information as possible so they can create a police file to track activities. They will give you a police file number which you can use to reference your report in case anything more happens that you need to add to the police report.

Report The Incident

You will now want to report the incident to the Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or through their Fraud Reporting System.
Depending on how the incident took place you may want to report it to other organizations as well:

Website Fraud

For fraud that took place over an official website (make sure it is not a phishing website), report the incident directly to the administrators of the website via a link called “Report and Issue” or “Report and Ad” on the website.

Mail Fraud

In the case where you believe someone has rerouted or redirected your mail, contact Canada Post and then notify your utilities providers of the fraud as well (Hydro, telephone, water, gas etc.).

Status Card Fraud

With a lost, stolen or misused Status Card, contact Public Inquiries at Indigenous Services Canada to report it. They will cancel the card to prevent any further fraudulent activities. You will have to reapply to get a new card issued for you. On the application, list “lost or stolen” as the reason for the application.

Social Insurance Number Fraud

If you lost or believe your Social Insurance Number was stolen you must follow the steps listed above and in this link and then contact Service Canada with the police report.

Birth Certificates, Driver’s Licenses, etc. Fraud

For lost or stolen provincial or territorial documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, health care cards contact the provincial or territorial government where it was issued and report the incident.

Remember, if you fall victim to fraud, don’t be shy. In addition to telling police, your financial institutions, and necessary organizations, tell your friends, family, and neighbours. Your story can help notify them and prevent them from falling victim to fraud as well.

Mail Fraud

In the case where you believe someone has rerouted or redirected your mail, contact Canada Post and then notify your utilities providers of the fraud as well (Hydro, telephone, water, gas etc.).

Status Card Fraud

With a lost, stolen or misused Status Card, contact Public Inquiries at Indigenous Services Canada to report it. They will cancel the card to prevent any further fraudulent activities. You will have to reapply to get a new card issued for you. On the application, list “lost or stolen” as the reason for the application.

Social Insurance Number Fraud

If you lost or believe your Social Insurance Number was stolen you must follow the steps listed above and in this link and then contact Service Canada with the police report.

Birth Certificates, Driver’s Licenses, etc. Fraud

For lost or stolen provincial or territorial documents such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, health care cards contact the provincial or territorial government where it was issued and report the incident.

Remember, if you fall victim to fraud, don’t be shy. In addition to telling police, your financial institutions, and necessary organizations, tell your friends, family, and neighbours. Your story can help notify them and prevent them from falling victim to fraud as well.

Take Steps To Protect Yourself In The Future

When it comes to protecting yourself from becoming a victim of fraud again, there are several things you can do:

  • Always make sure your computer, laptop, phones, tablets and other devices are current with the latest security and operating system updates.
  • Use different passwords for devices, websites, and accounts. Don’t use the same password for each one.
  • Enable multi-layer authentication whenever possible on your accounts.
  • Make sure your home WIFI is password protected to prevent unauthorized access.
  • When creating passwords, make sure you avoid using easily guessable information like birthdates and names.
  • Only log onto your accounts from trusted sources and sites. Look at the URL to make sure it is the official site and not a phishing site.
  • Be extra careful of using public WIFI, as your information is vulnerable to attacks when using public access.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or downloads from texts or emails. If the company, financial institution, or organization doesn’t normally reach out to you via email, call or text, be suspicious of incoming messages claiming to be from those places.
  • Regularly review your accounts and statements to be aware of any suspicious or fraudulent activity.
  • If you get a phone call from your bank or credit card company, you can verify if it is truly them by hanging up and then calling the bank or credi card company back using the phone number on the back of your card.

Remember, if you feel pressured by the person you are speaking to it is likely a scam. It is perfectly alright to say no and hang up the phone. You can always call the company back and verify that they really tried to contact you and proceed from there.

Becoming the victim of fraud is scary and overwhelming. We hope you never have to go through it, but if you do we hope these steps help you in your time of need.

If you have any questions you can connect with us using this link. We are here to help!

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