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Fraud Prevention

Recognize it. Reject it. Report it.

March is Fraud Prevention month, an annual awareness campaign held in March to help prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by helping to educate them to Recognize Fraud. Reject it. and Report it.

We will be covering Fraud Topics throughout the month of March on our socials. The topics will be based on the trending Fraud Scams that we are seeing that are affecting our members. Topics will include Romance Scams, Email Cheque Scams, Employment Scams, Phishing Scams and Interac e-Transfer Security.  Each Friday, beginning March 8th, we will post a Fraud Friday Question on this page as well as our Facebook and Instagram Pages encouraging our members to answer the fraud question to get their name entered in a draw to win some Crossroads Swag!  Keep reading to educate yourself on the content we will be sharing.

Be Fraud Smart! 

You are the first line of defense against fraud, learn how to protect yourself!

Here are some safety steps you can take to combat fraud. Learn more about our security services that you can activate yourself in minutes.

Banking alerts provide added protection and convenience to your online banking experience. Stay informed by email or text message when an online event occurs on your accounts including:

  • Your personal access code (PAC) is changed.
  • Attempts have been made to access your account.
  • A new bill payment vendor or e-Transfer recipient is added to your profile.
  • Online Banking Account has been locked out - Incorrect response to Security Question

Click here to learn more.

A strong password provides essential protection from financial fraud and identity theft. One of the most common ways that hackers break into computers is by guessing passwords. Simple and commonly used passwords enable fraudsters to easily gain access and control of a computing device.

  • Create complex passwords.
  • Passwords should contain at least ten characters and have a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters.
  • Utilize two-factor authentication. Use passphrases (watch the video below to learn more).
Phishing Scams

Canadians are spending more time online and fraudsters are getting creative with scams in the digital era. Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them personal information. Phishing is when you get an unsolicited email or text that claims to be from a legitimate organization such as a financial institutions, business, or government agency. Scammers ask you to provide or verify, either via email or clicking on a web link and trick you into providing personal and/or financial information. These messages often copy the tone and logo of reputable organizations you trust and usually include a call to action, and they are wanting your personal information.

  • Request for Personal Information: reputable organizations will never ask for personal information through email or text.
  • Urgent Requests: Look out for messages that include a call to action and they are wanting you to respond immediately.
  • Real emergencies don’t happen via email.
  • Unsolicited Emails: Look out for receipts for items you didn’t purchase, updates on deliveries for things you didn’t order etc.
  • Spelling/Grammar Errors that a legitimate organization would not miss.
  • Suspicious Attachments that you were not expecting and didn’t ask for, weird file names and uncommon file types.
  • Anything Too Good to Be True: Winning a lottery is unlikely. Winning a lottery, you didn’t enter is impossible!
  • Do not click any links.
  • Do not open any attachments.
  • Do not reply or forward the message – Delete the email or text!
  • If unsure about legitimacy – contact the company through a different channel such as the phone. Research online for the contact information; never contact them using the information received in the message!
Romance Scams

A scammer convinces you to enter a virtual, online relationship so they can gain your trust and affection. This can occur through:

  • Email messages
  • Fake profiles on social media and dating sites

Eventually, the scammer may ask you:

  • for money for travel, a medical emergency or family assistance – making it seem urgent or like an emergency
  • to receive money for them – by doing so you might unknowingly be committing a crime
  • to join a business venture with them
  • to invest in cryptocurrency

Scammers will try to use any means necessary to convince you that their requests are legitimate. The majority of fraud is not committed by amateurs, and they will use technology to their advantage.

  • Someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you.
  • The person wants to quickly move to a private or different mode of communication (email, text, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts etc.).
  • They always have an excuse not to meet in person.
  • You receive poorly/oddly written messages, sometimes even addressing you by the wrong name.
  • The individual claims to live close to you but is working overseas.
  • They act distressed or angry to guilt you into sending money.
  • The individual discourages you from discussing them or their situation with your friends and family (attempting to isolate you from those who may be suspicious of the relationship).
  • Be careful what you post and make public online.
  • Trust your instincts, ask questions
  • Don’t be afraid to say “NO”
  • Never send money or give financial details on a dating site.
  • Remember that it’s very unlikely that someone will declare their undying love to anyone after only a few letters, emails, phone calls or pictures.
  • Always avoid sending money or personal information to someone you haven't met in person
  • Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it is!

Interac® e-Transfer Interception Fraud

E-transfer interception fraud occurs when money is being sent via Interac e-Transfer® from one bank account to another using an email address or text message. Fraudsters will intercept the online transaction and divert the money to a different bank account. Whether you’re the sender or recipient of an e-Transfer, everyone is responsible for playing their part in preventing fraud.
  • Register for Autodeposit – Automatically deposit funds into your account to remove the risk of criminals intercepting the notification email.
  • Use answers that are not easy to guess – Ensure the answer to your security question cannot be easily guessed or found on social media. If the notification is intercepted, it will be harder for a criminal to answer and steal the funds.
  • Do not include the answer to your security question in the message box – Only share the answer via a secure and different channel, such as over the phone.
  • Never Click Links to accept e-transfers that you were not expecting.
  • Keep Your Email Secure – Be cautious of phishing links. Don’t stay logged in when you’re away from your computer. Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess.
  • Register for banking Alerts - Receive an alert when a new e-Transfer recipient has been added so you can verify this action.
  • Be cautious of the information you share online, including personal identifiable information that hackers can use to access your accounts.

Email Cheque Fraud

A typical cheque fraud scam is where a fraudster emails you an “electronic cheque”. They tell you to take a picture of the “electronic cheque” or to print the item and then take a picture to deposit the funds electronically.  They then tell you to deposit the cheque in your account using your Mobile App and then asks that you forward the majority of the funds via e-Transfer, or by purchasing gift cards or bitcoin.

An example of where this type of fraud can occur is an overpayment for something you're selling on an online site or a new online job that you have just been hired for.

  • If it seems odd, it’s probably fraud.
  • If someone you don’t know emails you a picture of a cheque, it’s a scam, contact your financial institution to verify.
  • There is an immediate request to send funds back through e-Transfer, gift cards or bitcoin.
  • DO NOT accept cheques sent to you via email.
  • Do your research.
  • Know who you are dealing with.
  • IN ALL CASES ~ you get a cheque and someone asks you to send back money in ANY means, THAT’S A SCAM!
Employment Scams

Employment scams often appear on job boards, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or the targets of such scams may receive unsolicited emails from supposed employers. The scammer often assumes the identity of a legitimate company, recruiter or hiring agency and will quickly offer the victim a job that pays well but requires little or no effort. The jobs offered are typically 'work from home' or ‘mystery shopper’ jobs. The victim will often get the job without needing to send in an application, have an interview or even discuss the role at all with their supposed employer.

Scammers will take advantage of job seekers by collecting confidential information that they will use for identity theft, or they will have the victim cash fraudulent checks, wire money, or transfer funds for services or supplies. There are several ways an employment scammer may take a victim’s money.

  • Scammer will ask the victim to submit personal information, like a social security number or driver's license number, that is needed to complete their application.
  • Scammer will ask the victim to provide bank account information to process their pay.
  • Scammer will ask the victim to send their credit card information to pay for training or training materials that are needed as part of the job.
  • Scammer will ask the victim to cash a cheque to complete the application process or as payment for their new job. The victim will be asked to send the money to a third-party or wire any excess funds back to the employer. The victim will soon find out they are involved in an overpayment scam.
  • Don’t give out personal information.
  • Protect your online accounts.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “NO”.
  • Never agree to deposit a check and wire transfer money back anyone or forward funds to a third-party.
  • Be cautious when dealing with people you have only met online. If you decide to send them money use secure, traceable transactions. Do not send wire transfers, prepaid debit cards or gift cards.

Protect Seniors From Fraud and Identity Theft

Fraud is the top crime against older Canadians. Make sure the seniors in your life are aware of fraud and identity theft risks and the steps they can do to help protect themselves.

Top 5 Scams Targeting Seniors:

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Romance scams are among the top ten frauds affecting Canadians. Typically, the victim and criminal will meet through social media or a dating site. The scammer will say that they live in another city or country and that they eventually want to meet the victim in person. The scammer will then say they are rich, but their funds are currently “tied up”. They will seek financial assistance from the victim but promise to pay them back. The requests for help are a scam - Don’t let the romance scam break your heart!

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! A lottery scam is a type of advance-fee fraud which begins with an unexpected notification that “You Have Won!” a large sum of money. These scams require you to pay a fee or taxes to collect the winnings. If you haven’t entered a lottery or contest, it’s impossible to win!

Grandchild in jail? Don’t act too quickly! Emergency frauds usually target loving grandparents, taking advantage of their emotions to rob them of their money. Typically, the scam starts with a grandparent receiving a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. The “grandchild” will say they are in trouble or have been in a car accident and they need money immediately. Take time to verify the story, call the grandchild or the child’s parents. Scammers are wanting you to react quickly, never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust!

Threats and intimidation to pay your tax bill? The calls, emails and texts can look and sound authentic – and threatening. The fraudsters pressure the victims to either pay an outstanding balance or provide personal information to receive a tax refund. Do not rush into making a payment, especially if you are being threatened. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency directly to verify the situation.

Some scammers may be pretending to raise funds on behalf of a charity but are actually stealing your money! Donations are a vital source of funding for worthy causes and charities. As a donor, it’s important to be well-informed so you can feel confident about where your money is going. Gather as much information as possible on the organization, visit their website for annual reports, contact information, etc. Check the List of Charities on the Canada Revenue Agency website to find out if they are a registered charity.

General Safety Reminders!

Always follow these tips to keep your personal and financial information secure!

  • Do not click on strange links within emails.
  • If you are not expecting an Interac e-Transfer from someone, don’t accept it and do not click on any links to log into online banking.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi to log into online banking.
  • Do not share your debit card and never disclose the personal access code (PAC) to anyone.
  • Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to learn about current scams affecting Canadians.

To learn more about fraud & to report fraud visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

To learn about the 12 common scams check out The Little Black Book of Scams 2nd Edition.

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