The Canadian Marketing Association is committed to ensuring that the marketplace is free of fraud. As a member of the Fraud Prevention Forum, CMA educates consumers on how to identify and report fraud. The information below was provided by the Forum as part of its fraud prevention initiatives.
What is the Fraud Prevention Forum?
The Fraud Prevention Forum is a concerned group of private sector firms, consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies and law enforcement organizations, who are committed to fighting fraud aimed at consumers and businesses. Through its partners, the Forum, which is chaired by the Competition Bureau, works to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to recognize it, report it and stop it.
Find out how much you know about identifying fraudulent activities by taking this quiz prepared by members of the Fraud Prevention Forum.
The Face of Fraud - It's not who you think
Believe it or not, there is no typical fraud victim in Canada, but research finds that fraud victims are likely to be educated, informed, relatively affluent and involved in their communities.
Your risk of becoming a fraud victim is not linked to your age, ethnicity, income or geographic location. Scammers don't care about any of that - they just want your money.
You wouldn't fall for it?
Thousands of Canadians are defrauded each year. Scam artists are up to date and well-organized. They use the latest trends and sophisticated techniques:
- Professional marketing materials;
- Well-crafted and researched telephone scripts, which are traded among criminals;
- Friendly tone and "generous" offers;
- Believable answers for your tough questions;
- Ability to impersonate legitimate businesses, charities, and causes; and,
- Expertise to use your own emotions against you.
These are professional criminals. They know what they're doing and, unfortunately for their victims, they do it well.
You can protect yourself
Identity theft is the fastest-growing type of fraud. Protect your precious personal information. Ask all marketing, research or charity callers for:
- Detailed, written information that you can check yourself;
- Time to think about the offer. Scam artists pressure you for an answer, saying the offer will expire or go to the next person if you don't act now;
- Valid references and the means to contact them; and,
- A call-back number. But beware - a crook can give you a number where a colleague is standing by to finish taking your money.
Shred unwanted personal documents such as transaction records, credit applications, insurance forms, cheques, financial statements and tax returns.
It's a rip-off! Here's the tipoff:
- The caller is more excited than you are.
- The caller demands an immediate answer but refuses to send you anything in writing.
- You must pay fees or buy a product before you can collect your prize or obtain credit.
- You are asked for credit card or bank account numbers, or copies of personal documents - but you get nothing in writing.
- You can only send payment by wire service or by courier.
- The price for a product is much less than the price for the same product on the open market.
- You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account - often to deposit cheques or transfer money.
- You receive an unexpectedly large cheque.
- Your business is invoiced for supplies or directory listings you did not order.
If a scam artist contacts you or if you've been defrauded, call PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501. They will gather evidence, identify new trends and alert law enforcement in Canada and abroad. By reporting, you can prevent others from becoming victims and help put an end to fraud.
Identity Theft Statement Form is available online
The Consumer Measures Committee's website now offers a downloadable form for reporting identity theft. It makes reporting easier and ensures the police have all the information they need. Visit www.phonebusters.com and follow the link to the CMC's report form.
Competition Bureau, 1-800-348-5358
RCMP - Reporting Economic Crime
Canada Revenue Agency - Charities Directorate: 1-800-267-2384
Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus: 416-644-4936
TransUnion: 1-866-525-0262, 1-877-713-3393 (for Quebec residents)