Scams and Shams

The topic came up at work today and I thought I’d share the 3 scams I’ve encountered that you hopefully won’t!

Text from the Bank

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Red Flags: asking for log-in information, live link & sketchy URL address

Banks don’t text you a live link and ask for your log-in information. I already knew this was a scam from various telltale signs like wrong bank, wrong country and most of all, it was asking for log-in information. I didn’t click the link at all.  The link will probably lead to a site that looks like the bank’s actual log-in page and since it looks so much like the real one, some people might enter their log-in information and end up compromising their accounts.

Fake Cheque for Lottery Winnings

Red flags: too good to be true; “this is urgent”tactics

I received mail and a “cheque” for a few thousand dollars. In the letter they indicate a phone number I should contact so that I could get “the rest” of my money and they had to hear from me the next day after getting my mail! This was too good to be true and super crazy because who tells you you’re a winner and disqualifies you in the next 24 hours if you don’t contact them?

Google will immediately bring up results about these types of scams. They do it by asking you to deposit the “cheque” you just received and wire the amount back to them to cover some fees for taxes and get the rest of your winnings.

While it’s downright unbelievable, the cheque looks legitimate! I can imagine someone who is down and struggling might just try to deposit it and wire their money. They’ll expect to get the  prize only to get hit by a double whammy: the horror of losing money and the embarassment when the bank teller confirms it’s a fraudulent cheque.

Call from the Taxman

Red flags: Government communication is almost always via post, phone number does not match government agency’s phone numbers, some calls are not made on office hours

This was the most annoying ang horrible for me! They called up numerous times, they left threatening messages that I owed the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency – the Canadian equivalent of USA’s IRA). Me?! They’d probably harass me even more if I answered and press me for informatuon that they can use for identity theft.

One way to deal with this is to ignore the calls. Also, if you want to make sure if it was indeed the CRA then search for their helpdesk or service phone number and call. That way you’re sure to reach the real government office and not a scammer’s phone line.

There’s a whole lot of scams out there. Contrary to this popular Tagalog saying, “Walang maloloko kung walang nagpapaloko.” there are always people out there who will use their talents and their smarts to scam others. Some of them can be unrecognizeable and well done. So don’t hate yourself if you’ve ever fallen for these. It can happen to anyone. Just know that there are steps we can take to lessen the blow or even prevent it from happening. That’s all folks!