What to do if you are defrauded

Financial fraud can be stressful and time-consuming experience. It can affect you both financially and emotionally.

If you are defrauded, or suspect that you may have been defrauded, take these steps right away:

1. Report the fraud

Contact the Ontario Securities Commission (OSCOSC See Ontario Securities Commission.+ read full definition). We’re here to help. We can review your situation and suggest next steps on what you need to do.

As a regulatory body, the OSC administers and enforces compliance with the provisions of the Securities Act (Ontario) and the CommodityCommodity A raw material that trades in large amounts on a stock exchange. For example, grain, gold, and oil.+ read full definition FuturesFutures A derivative contract that commits you to buy or sell a commodity, currency or stock market index at a set price on a set date in the future. Unlike an option, you can’t change your mind later; you must do what your contract says you will do.+ read full definition Act (Ontario). This means we can investigate alleged breaches of securities laws and in certain cases, prosecute accused wrongdoers through the Ontario courts.

You should also file a police report. Some financial institutions may request it as part of their anti-fraud investigation procedures.

The police may launch their own investigation or depending on the circumstances, the matter could be forwarded to the Joint Serious Offences Team which is an enforcement partnership between the OSC, the RCMP Financial Crime program and the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch.

You can also report being a victim of fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

2. Review your financial statements and accounts

Check for any suspicious activities or transactions. This includes credit and debit card purchases, investments being sold, money orders and address changes. If something isn’t right, report it immediately to your financial institution.

3. Review your credit reports

Get a free copy of your credit reportCredit report A detailed report that shows your borrowing history, including any bankruptcies. Also includes a list of companies that have asked about your credit history.+ read full definition (may also be called a credit or consumer disclosure). The two largest credit bureaus in Canada are Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. A credit report will tell you if someone has opened an accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition – such as a bank account or credit card – using your identity. If you notice an account that you did not open, contact the creditorCreditor A person or institution that lends money. To borrow from a bank or finance company, you must sign a legal contract that gives them the right to claim your car, home or other assets if you don’t pay back the loan.+ read full definition immediately and explain the situation to them. You may consider putting a fraud alert on your credit report – this tells financial institutions that you may have been defrauded and to take addition steps to verify your identity before opening an account.

4. Keep any evidence

If you have been in contact with the person or organization that you suspect defrauded you, keep any records including email exchanges, text conversations and statements. This will help regulators and the police investigate and take action against the fraudsters. Do not put yourself in danger – if you think the evidence may be at the fraudster’s home or place of business, do not try to collect it yourself. Let the regulators or police know so they can pursue it in their investigation.

Take notes of the conversations you’ve had and the organizations you’ve contacted. It may help you recall information.

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