Fraud Prevention and Signs of a Scam
Perhaps you are not a scam victim but have received a phone call, text or email that you think is a scam. If you aren't a victim, there is usually no need to report the call/email to police. However, if you do want to make a report, you can learn about current scams or make a report by contacting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
It can seem like there's a new scam every week but scams usually have similar red flags. Knowing the common signs of a scam can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.
Watch for the signs of a scam
- Be suspicious if someone is asking you for personal or financial information over the phone, text or email.
- Be suspicious if someone is asking for payment via prepaid credit cards, gift cards or money transfers.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be wary if a stranger wants to develop a quick relationship with you. The person could be a con artist.
- Check out the resources at the bottom of this page for warning signs on specific types of scams.
Protect yourself from scams
Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother's maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
If you receive a "pay cheque" or another form of payment from someone you've met online and they ask you to cash it and send them a portion of the funds – don't do it. It's a counterfeit cheque and you'll be responsible to cover any fees from the bank.
Sometimes scammers pretend to be representatives of legitimate agencies like the Canada Revenue Agency. If you get a call like this and you aren't sure whether the call is legitimate, hang up and call the organization yourself using a phone number from a trustworthy source, such as their official website or your account statements. Then you can discuss your account with an authorized representative.
Scammers sometimes pretend to be a loved one in trouble and ask you to send money through prepaid credit cards or money transfer. Scammers can fake their phone numbers on your caller ID so it looks like a local number. If the caller is asking for money, hang up and call your family member at the number you have for them to verify you are speaking to your loved one.
If you're shopping on classified sites like Kijiji. Never send money before receiving an item. Conduct transactions in a public place and bring someone else with you. Take advantage of the Charlottetown Police Safe Exchange Zone located at 10 Kirkwood Drive in front of the main entrance doors. The parking spaces are marked with signs and there is on-site video surveillance.
Look for signs that a loved one may be a victim of fraud
If you suspect a loved one may be a victim of a scam, don't criticize. Encourage your loved one to share concerns with you. Assure the individual that it's not rude to hang up on suspicious calls. Explain the concerns and risks. Offer to help resolve the situation.
Financial abuse is misuse of another person's money, property or assets. This could include fraud. Some warning signs of financial abuse include:
- bills going unpaid despite adequate income
- loved one appears confused or afraid and won't say why
- a marked increase in the amount of mail or phone calls
- requests for loans or cash
Fraud prevention resources
Learn more about common scams in Canada and how to protect yourself from fraud by visiting the websites of some trusted partners.
- Canada Anti-Fraud Centre
- Protect yourself against fraud - Canada Revenue Agency
- Scams and Frauds - RCMP
- Protect yourself from fraud - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Little Black Book of Scams - Competition Bureau Canada
- Fraud Protection Facts for Seniors - Find under Resources