Convenience is the key reason why millions of Canadians are opting to do less in-branch banking and turning to do their banking online. Unfortunately, with convenience comes the potential for abuse of these services. Thinking of ways to protect yourself from online banking fraud schemes? We made it easier for you by providing some techniques to verify whether an online offer is truly great or just too good to be true.
Take a Second
- Many fraudsters will instill a sense of urgency to prevent you from thinking things through. When presented with an enticing offer, stop and think about it. Give yourself time to ruminate on it and if the fraudster says it’s only available now, chances are it’s not a real offer.
Apply the ‘Too good to be true’ test
- Listen to your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Looking back to our previous tip, if the offer is limited or only available ‘now’, then chances are it is not a real offer.
- Who is the person who contacted you? Do you know them? Is their request unsolicited? Why did they approach you? What are the risks? More importantly, would you trust them to watch your wallet, purse or phone? If you get a suspect message from someone you know, no one will be offended if you send a separate email to your contact (don’t just reply to the message) to confirm their ask or offer!
Get a Second Opinion
- If you are being asked to do something — wiring someone money or sending bitcoin, for example — and you feel uneasy about it, bounce the idea off someone else. Contact a trusted friend, a colleague, manager or someone at your credit union and run the proposal past them. Do they think it’s a good idea, too?
Opportunity vs. Cost
- Many scams play on the appeal of quick, easy money. It’s easy to get blinded by the dollar signs. Don’t let that distract you from making a reasonable, informed, cautious decision. Sometimes being blinded by dollar signs can cost you many of your own.
- If someone sents you money and then says you need to send some of it back to them — for any reason — it’s a scam. The money they sent you is fake; the money you’ll send back to them is very much real and was yours.
Have you been a victim of fraud?
If you think you may have been a victim of fraud, you are encouraged to follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather all information about the fraud. Example: documents, receipts, copies of emails and/or text messages.
Step 2: Report the incident to your local law enforcement.
Step 3: Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll-free at 1-888-495-8501 or through the Fraud Reporting System (FRS).
Step 4: Report the incident to your financial institution and/or the financial institution where the money was sent.
Step 5: If the fraud took place online through Facebook, eBay, a classified ad such as Kijiji or a dating website, be sure to report the incident directly to the website as well. These details can be found under ‘report abuse’ or ‘report an ad.’
Step 6: Change any usernames, passwords and/or PINs that may have been compromised. Update all saved passwords on devices.
Step 7: Victims of identity fraud should place flags on all their accounts and report to both credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.
Fraud can happen to anyone. We are here to help you with your situation. If you think you may have been a victim of fraud, please call 1-877-WESTOBA immediately and we can help you through the next steps.