Have you heard the one about someone’s grandson or other relative detained in a gazillion-miles away prison in need of bail money from an unsuspecting and loving grandmother bilked out of her entire life’s savings? Or the one where the Canada Revenue Service (CRA) texts or e-mails saying you owe money, pay up, or do not pass go and go directly to jail? Or how about the one with the prince with a million dollars who wants to give you some of the money if you help him by allowing him to access all of your personal information including bank account numbers?
These are not jokes, as Canadians are getting duped out of big bucks and/or put their identities on the line and in jeopardy by criminals with no conscience. Gullibility runs rampant online, as the ease of the Internet, Smartphones, and apps makes it a breeding ground out there for those wanting to gain by illegal means. One way to combat being scammed is by becoming aware of how to protect yourself online, on your Smartphone and elsewhere. If something is too good to be true — it usually is.
Everyone is a target and criminals will stop at nothing to get their hands on YOUR money. They also want your loved one’s cash too. So, remember to let friends and family know of any new developments in the world of being swindled. Second guess and whenever in doubt ask questions and/or just say “no” or “I’m good, thanks.” And then let others know, including law enforcement if applicable or other powers that be.
There’s an old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” But, in today’s day and age it is better to err on the side of caution by not being fooled at all. It is sometimes easier said than done, though. Law abiding citizens want to make sure they are doing the right thing and they want to help those in need. Criminals prey on those attributes and manipulate to get what they want, no matter the price. Of course, the price to pay, is from the victim(s) — unfortunately.
Keep an eye on media releases in regards to current scams. Do some recon or research on businesses, individuals, or organizations wanting your personal information — make sure they’re legit. Use various online or other resources such as the Better Business Bureau or reviews. If you can, wait before saying “yes” or sharing your personal information. Don’t bow to the pressure. Always say you need more time to think about it or want to take a look at your options before signing on the dotted line. If they pressure you or bully you into making a decision on the fly, it probably isn’t a legitimate request and/or bargain to beat all bargains.
When in doubt — check it out!