According to the Websters dictionary, the word fraud is defined as a : deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right. The fraud may consist either, first, in the misrepresentation, or, secondly, in the concealment of a material fact. In either case, fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation.
Fraud attempts come in many forms and according to the RCMP, no matter what your age, race, gender or education, it is easy to be fooled. They advise that being familiar with the current, most popular forms of fraud listed below and reporting fraud attempts in order to ensure that you and others are prepared to detect and deflect con artists.
Remember the chain letters you used to receive in mail? Xeroxed copies of handwritten letters pleading with you to forward seven more copies of the letter to your friends to thwart bad luck or to help an ailing child? The Internet has saved on the photocopy charges for these annoying schemes but has also opened the floodgates for cyber con artists to reach more people and create bigger, more sophisticated schemes. The infamous Nigerian/African letter scam is estimated to have cost Canadians more than $30 million over the past ten years alone but other threats to watch for are advance fee loan scams, chain letters, lottery scams and work-at-home schemes.
Telemarketing and sales are legitimate marketing tools for many reputable companies however the RCMP note on their website that, “criminals use the same techniques as legitimate companies, but hide behind the anonymity of the telephone and attempt to defraud thousands and thousands of Canadians each year.”
It’s important to establish that the company you are dealing via the phone is indeed legitimate, especially before sending money or providing personal information. Follow these easy tips ( http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/tf-ft-eng.htm) provided by the RCMP, to avoid being conned by a telemarketing scam.
• create a fictitious identity
• conceal criminal activity, such as money laundering
• assume or takeover an existing identity resulting in financial gain or the gain of goods or services
In fact, one in four Canadians have either been a victim or know someone who was a victim of this type of fraud. As such, on January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became law, providing tougher laws regarding identity theft and making it illegal to possess another person’s identity information for criminal purposes.
Identity fraud can be devastating to the victim, sometimes causing financial loss and damage to personal credit ratings. The process of restoring one’s “good name” and undoing the damage done by this type of fraud can be long and difficult, sometime taking many years.
Check out this video (4.05 mb) to learn more about Identity Theft.
Text equivalent also available
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Many of the scams we see on the Internet or perpetrated on the telephone originated with con artists and hustlers who approached people individually. The pyramid scheme, for example, is a popular get-rich-quick scheme that has been re-invented many times. They require a constant supply of recruits to create profits and are usually promoted by word-of-mouth and meetings. Pyramid schemes are illegal in Canada and because they are reliant on constant recruiting, they typically collapse eventually.
Door-to-door and telephone solicitations for charity should also be validated before you consider contributing to any cause. Ask the representative for ID and for the name, address, and phone number of the charity — and whether or not it is registered. If the presenters claim that it is registered, get a registration number. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come back after you have verified their authenticity, if they are legitimate, they won’t mind returning. Verify with the office of the charity that there is indeed a campaign going on, or that they’ve authorized the charity drive that you’re being invited to contribute.
Other types of fraud the average Canadian may encounter is
• Mortgage Fraud
Test your own fraud awareness: