In the last year, many Canadians were faced with overwhelming financial difficulties. It is therefore especially important that you protect your personal information so that you avoid finding yourself in an even more dire situation. In this current economic climate, the risk of your personal or financial information being stolen is unfortunately higher than ever. Below, you’ll find the various ways in which fraudsters can steal your personal information, so that you can protect yourself from their greed.
1. Emails, Text Messages & Phone Calls
One of the most common ways in which fraudsters can steal your information is by calling you or sending you emails or text messages, claiming to be someone they’re not (such as your financial institution, netflix, paypal, etc). Most of these correspondences will tell you that there was a problem with your “subscription” or that you are eligible for a refund, and will ask you to provide them with your personal information. In these kinds of situations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So if there is any doubt as to who is actually calling or sending you these messages, do not respond. Instead, contact the company that is requesting this information of you directly.
2. Social Media
Many victims of fraud have stated that they were contacted on social media by a family member or friend who were claiming to be in a tight spot and were asking for financial help by requesting personal banking information. It turns out that this “friend” wasn’t a friend at all, and was instead someone that was hacking their account. To prevent this from ever occurring, hold off on sending anyone any of your personal information on social media and learn how to protect yourself from identity theft.
3. Online Deals
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, online shopping has quickly become the norm. However, with this comes more risks of falling upon a website that offers deals that seem like they are too good to be true. Often times, it’s because they are too good to be true. You have to be extremely careful when shopping on websites you haven’t really heard of before, because these websites can easily steal your personal information. Always make sure you verify whether the website you are browsing is legitimate. When in doubt, just avoid it.
It’s especially difficult for those of us who are single to meet anyone these days, and that’s why many people have turned to online dating. Online dating is an amazing way to make connections with people either in your area or from around the world! Although dating in the age of the internet can be magical, you have to remember to exercise caution. If they refuse to meet you or start confiding in you about their financial woes and ask you for money — that’s a huge red flag and it’s likely that they aren’t who they say they are. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of fraudsters will use any means to get money out of their victims and will even go so far as to using one of our most basic human needs: love. So from now on, make sure you never send money to someone you haven’t met in person at least a few times.
Be especially wary if you receive a call from someone claiming to be someone from the Canada Revenue Agency telling you that there were errors in your tax returns and that you need to pay them right away. If you refuse, these people will use fear tactics such as telling you that you may face jail-time in order to get you to give them your information, but don’t be fooled!
With more ease of communication comes more risks of falling victim to fraud. Many people are already facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic, and the last thing anyone needs right now is to be cheated out of their hard-earned money. Be extremely vigilant and exercise caution when dealing with your personal information. And even if you haven’t been frauded but are dealing with an insurmountable amount of financial stress, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed insolvency trustee for a free and confidential consultation.