How you might be approached


Countless scams are promoted through e-mail, texting, websites and social networks. Spam e-mails in particular are very common. The best way to deal with these e-mails is to delete them. By responding – even to ask to be taken off a list – you alert the scammer that your e-mail address is valid. This will prompt them to send you more spam.

By phone

Many scams start with a phone call from someone you don’t know. They may claim to be representing a company you do business with, and ask to verify personal information like bank or credit card numbers. To combat phone fraud, don’t do business over the phone unless you’ve made the call yourself and you know the company and phone number are legitimate.

How scammers get your contact information

Scammers usually get contact information from lists. These lists are often the most valuable part of the scam – they’re traded and sold, and reused over and over. Once scammed, you’re more likely to be contacted again by the same or other scammers. To keep your name off these lists, avoid giving out your personal information – especially online.

Through a group you belong to

Scammers use their association with the group, and your common interests, to gain your trust – and then take your money. This is known as affinity fraud. They may also build relationships with leaders of the group to gain acceptance and endorsement.

Victims often don’t report affinity fraud for fear of embarrassment, or backlash from the group. They may try to resolve problems within the group, which can leave other groups vulnerable to the same scam.

At investment seminars

Some investment seminars promote specific investment strategies that promise high returns. You may not know that these products are risky and may not be appropriate for you. The investments themselves may not be fraudulent, but this type of promotion raises a number of red flags.

Presenters are usually good motivational speakers and may use high-pressure sales tactics. If you’re given time-limited offers or feel pressured to buy, walk away.

Check registration

Many scammers are not registered to sell investments. Check the seller’s registrationRegistration A requirement for any person or company trading investments or providing advice in Canada. Securities industry professionals are required to register with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business.+ read full definition and get a second opinion from a qualified advisor, lawyer or accountant. Learn how registration protects you.

Take action

Could you be a target for fraud? Test your skills with The Cranial Cash Clash –Scam Exam.

Key point

Thoroughly research any investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition opportunity before you investInvest To use money for the purpose of making more money by making an investment. Often involves risk.+ read full definition – no matter how attractive the investment may be or how much you trustTrust An account set up to hold assets for a beneficiary. A trustee manages the assets until the beneficiary reaches legal age.+ read full definition the person offering it.

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