The global pandemic has required people to spend more time at home and has also increased uncertainty amongst many about what the future holds. Criminals have viewed the current environment as an opportunity to target Canadians, including older adults, in an effort to obtain their personal and financial information. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has reported 766 cases of COVID-19 fraud that has resulted in losses of approximately $1.2 million.
The ways in which criminals try to fraudulently get your information continues to grow, requiring us all to be extra vigilant. Frauds and scams can come in many forms: from a phone call to an email that appears to come from your financial institution. Older adults – who may have significant savings later in life – are frequently the target of these activities. In addition to financial losses, victims may experience emotional and health consequences such as depression or anxiety.
So, what can be done to protect yourself from frauds and scams? The Government of Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre recommends the following tips to protect yourself.
· Don’t be afraid to say no
· Do your research
· Don’t give out personal information
· Beware of upfront fees
· Protect your computer
· Be careful who you share images with
In addition to the above tips, be cautious about clicking on links in emails, even when the email appears to come from someone you know or an organization you may be familiar with. Government agencies such as the Canadian Revenue Agency will never call you saying you need to pay money or face jail time, and telephone calls or emails with these messages are a scam. It is also important to be vigilant when online shopping by limiting the sites you purchase from to companies you already know and trust.
For more information about frauds and scams, read through some of our helpful resources below.