Too good to be true? preventing phone fraud
Someone phones you claiming to be a person of authority, saying you’ve won a large amount of money. The only catch is that you must pay fees, preferably in cash, in order to have your prize released.
If you think this is legitimate, think again.
This is a classic example of mass marketing fraud. The money you send will be lost to the profits of criminals, and the promised prize never delivered.
Mass marketing fraud is a false sales pitch — via phone, Internet or mail — that requires payment from the buyer for goods or services before they’re delivered.
Signs you’re dealing with a criminal telemarketer
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• You must pay to participate; legitimate lotteries never ask a winner to pay in order to release their prize.
• You must give private financial information; honest businesses don’t need these details.
• You have to send cash; a cash payment is untraceable and can’t be cancelled, making it easy for criminals to disappear with your money.
• The caller claims to be a person of authority. Fraudsters know you’re more likely to believe the “manager.”
• “Limited opportunity” and high-pressure sales tactics are used: the caller will pressure you into making an immediate decision.
• The caller is articulate and persistent.
Criminals don’t always use the phone; mass marketing fraud can come as letter or an email. It can also be a cheque sent to you with a letter asking you to deposit the cheque in your account, asking you to send back part of the money. In reality, the cheque sent to you is counterfeit.
How to avoid mass marketing fraud:
• Never send money!
• Don’t answer unsolicited mail, emails or calls from strangers.
• When filling out sweepstakes coupons, be certain that the company is legitimate.
• Never give out confidential banking or credit card information.
• Never give your address to strangers.
• If you receive a cheque from a stranger, bring it to your local police.
Help & information for victims of mass marketing fraud
• Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre: 1-888-495-8501 or www.phonebusters.com.
• COLT (Centre of Operations Linked to Telemarketing): 514-939-8304.
• Competition Bureau of Industry Canada: 1-800-348-5358 or www.competitionbureau.gc.ca
• Your local police can help you concerning how to proceed in your region.