Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

March 05, 2012 13:35 ET

Competition Bureau's Tips to Protect Against Fraud

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 5, 2012) - Scams come in many forms and knowing how to recognize them will help build consumer confidence in the marketplace.

With Fraud Prevention Month underway, the Competition Bureau would like to remind consumers of some simple tips to detect scams over the Internet, by phone, by mail or in person:

  • Be vigilant when evaluating ads, whether for a job, a product or service offered online, over the phone or in print.
  • Before sending money or giving credit card or account details, be sure you understand what you are agreeing to. Do not feel pressured into paying for a product or service because of threats that your credit rating will be damaged.
  • Know who you are dealing with. Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or letters from unknown sources.
  • Search for the company, the individuals, the product or the offer on the Internet, and verify any contact and company details.
  • Read the fine print to understand what you are agreeing to, particularly in emails or online messages.
  • Remember that trustworthy businesses will rarely contact you by email, phone or text message to ask for personal details, banking or financial information.
  • Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash-you have no protection against loss.
  • Beware of offers that promise "too much"!

It is also important to know that:

  • legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never charge fees to deliver a prize.
  • advertisements running on a social networking site are not necessarily credible or reliable.
  • testimonials can appear quite believable by using so-called "satisfied customers", "celebrities", or "experts".
  • a "free" trial offer should not require you to provide a credit card number.

Consumers should also take measures to protect themselves in the online and mobile environments. It is important to install reputable security software on your computer and keep it up to date. Use a spam filter and a firewall to avoid malicious software damaging your computer or mobile device, and stealing your personal information. Consumers should also avoid clicking on links to websites contained in unsolicited emails or online messages.

The Competition Bureau has various tools on its website to help consumers recognize scams and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Consumer tools include: an updated fraud quiz; some common scams in the "Recognize it" section; victim stories that demonstrate how anyone can be a target of fraud; and other important tips on how to recognize, report and stop fraud. For more information, please visit the Fraud Prevention section on the Bureau's website.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

FRAUD: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.

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