The Calgary Police Service is once again joining with partner agencies across the province to promote Fraud Prevention Month.
For the first three quarters of 2016, there were 3,514 reported fraud-related offences to the CPS.
For the month of March, police agencies, consumer protection groups, businesses and government agencies will come together to increase fraud awareness and provide citizens with ways they can protect themselves. Fraud Prevention Month will focus on the following themes:
- Week 1 – Door-to-door scams
- Week 2 – Cyber scams
- Week 3 – Mass marketing
- Week 4 – Identity theft
Fraudsters continue to modify existing scams and use aggressive techniques to convince victims to comply, whether in person, over the phone or online. It’s important that citizens are able to recognize the red flags of a scam, regardless of what method the scammer is using.
“The methods scammers use to commit fraud are constantly evolving as they gain access to new technology and are able to reach victims all over the world,” says Staff Sergeant Cory Dayley of the CPS Cyber/Forensics Unit. “The most important thing is for citizens to be able to recognize a scam when they come across it so they can avoid falling victim.”
“People may not consider themselves a likely target if they are already familiar with the scam,” says Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “But with technology making it easier for scammers to reach consumers directly through mobile devices, it's easier for anyone to fall victim to their tricks. That's why each year BBB continues to partner with like-minded organizations to work together in helping citizens become their own fraud-fighter."
While scammers use technology to defraud victims, agencies are also taking advantage of these advances to provide some protection to consumers and businesses.
“While we have seen a significant decrease of counterfeit money since the issue of the Polymer series in Canada, the Bank of Canada continues to work hard at ensuring Canadians are protected from counterfeit losses,” says Bank of Canada Senior Regional Representative Ted Mieszkalski. “Counterfeiting is a crime of opportunity: criminals prey on retailers and consumers who don’t take the time to check their bank notes – even the most advanced security features only work if you check them.”
Fraud Prevention Month partners will be at Cross Iron Mills mall on Saturday, March 18, 2017, to educate citizens about how to recognize, report and avoid falling victim to fraud. The Electronic Recycling Association will be present with its portable hard drive shredder to provide free electronic recycling.
Citizens can protect themselves by:
- Trusting their gut. If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is.
- Verifying information through legitimate sources. Always confirm the story is real by contacting the person, company or agency through a phone number or website you know to be the real one. Be cautious of contact information provided to you.
- Never clicking on links in unsolicited emails or text messages. Even if the link looks to be legitimate, it could actually direct to a malicious website or contain malware.
- Taking their time. Any legitimate agency will provide consumers with adequate time to respond and determine if the offer is legitimate.
- Being proactive. Make sure all electronic devices have up-to-date operating systems and antivirus software, shred any documents that contain personal and financial information before discarding, check for security features on your banknotes, and never give out more personal information than is necessary.
- Reporting losses or threats to the police. Any crime, whether committed in person or online, should be reported to the police by calling 403-266-1234, or 9-1-1 in an emergency.