Mass marketing scams: How to protect yourself
Published Monday, August 18, 2014 9:41AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 18, 2014 11:04AM EDT
Thousands of Canadians fall victim to telephone and Internet scams that typically target seniors. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that in 2013 alone, $57 million was lost to mass marketing frauds that affected more than 13,000 Canadians.
CTVNews.ca looks at what you can do prevent falling victim to a mass marketing scam.
How do you tell the different between a legitimate telephone marketer and a scammer?
Legitimate telemarketers typically don't apply heavy pressure over the phone, while someone involved in a scam will apply intense pressure on individuals on the other side of the line, according to retired Saskatoon fraud detective and fraud educator Brian Trainor.
"(Scammers) are going to play all sorts of emotional games with you," Trainor told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.
What are some of the more common scams?
Many marketing scams are in response to advertisements placed online. Trainor said often those who posted the ads will be sent a cheque that's above the asking price and then asked to wire the excess funds back to the purchaser immediately. These cheques then typically bounce.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says the best way to protect against cheque overpayment fraud is to never agree to a deal where the purchaser offers anything more than the asking price.
Letters concerning the transfer of millions of dollars are sent out to North Americans typically via email daily. After receiving a letter, the sender asks for a fee to transfer the funds. The CAFC advises Canadians not to open unsolicited emails.
A grandparent receives a phone call from someone claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. The caller says they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. Wanting to help their grandchild, the victim sends money by a money transfer company such as MoneyGram or Western Union.
How can individuals avoid being pulled into a scam?
Trainor said the best way to prevent being scammed is to avoid staying on the phone too long.
"It's not a crime to hang up the phone," he said.
What should you do if you think you've been scammed?
Trainor said if you think you've been scammed, you should report it to police and your phone company. If your credit card or bank account may have been compromised, report it to a credit agency.