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Knowledge is Your Best Defense

Fraud is on the rise across Canada, and in Sudbury. Scammers are finding new ways to target individuals and trick them into giving up their money or personal information. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to be informed and stay alert. The more you know about the different types of scams that are occurring, the easier it will be for you to recognize them and take precautions for protect yourself.

 
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Current Scams Affecting Sudburians

What does it look like?

You receive a call claiming that your grandchild or family member is in distress. Scammers will claim that they are law enforcement officials, lawyers or even impersonate your family member. The scammers claim that money is needed immediately, and that there is a gag order in place so you cannot speak to anyone else about this.

How to protect yourself:

  • If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be your family member in an emergency, hang up the phone and contact your family member directly.
  • If the caller claims to be a law enforcement official, hang up and call the local police directly.
  • Be suspicious of calls that require you to immediately take action.
  • Remember that the courts won’t ask for cash to bail out someone in custody, and will require people to be present in court.
  • Never send cash or cryptocurrencies to unknown persons, or unverified addresses or bank accounts.

What does it look like?

You receive a call or email informing you that there’s been suspicious activity on your bank account or another account such as a credit card, PayPal or Amazon. You are directed to send funds, buy pre-paid gift cards or purchase bitcoin in order to reverse the fraudulent charges and secure your account. 

How to protect yourself:

  • If you receive a suspicious call about your bank account, credit card, or other account, hang up, look up the company’s official phone number and call them directly.
  • If you receive a suspicious email about an account, do not click on any links in the email or call the phone number provided. Go directly to the company’s website to login to your account or look up the official phone number and call them directly.
  • Ignore communications from unknown contacts.
  • Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate. Scammers use call-spoofing to mislead victims.

What does it look like?

You find a contractor for home renovations via an online ad, a flyer, or door-to-door solicitation. They provide a “special price” or low quote if you hire them immediately and provide payment upfront. 

How to protect yourself:

  • Prior to signing a contract or providing payment, research the company or individual and ask for references.
  • Obtain a written contract.
  • Ask for identification and verify applicable licensing.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, end the interaction.

 

What does it look like?

You receive an email claiming that you have been cited with a traffic violation and must pay your fine within 72 hours. The traffic violation is listed as speeding on a road in Sudbury. You are told not to mail a cheque, but to use the link provided to make a payment online. 

How to protect yourself:

  • Remember that you will never be emailed or called regarding a traffic violation. Notifications are always sent by mail to the registered owner’s mailing address.
  • Never click on links or download attachments from unsolicited messages.
  • Verify the validity of suspicious emails by calling the company or service provider using their verified phone number.

 

 
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How to Spot a Scam

The following are common red flags to watch for:

Urgency

Scammers will often use intimidation and high-pressure tactics to get you to take immediate action. Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions. If you’re being pressured to take immediate action, stop and ask yourself if it makes sense. Don’t be rushed into providing personal information. Instead, take the time to talk to family members or the relevant authorities about it.

Wire transfer

Many scams involve a request to wire money electronically using a money transfer service, like Western Union, or using cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Never send funds to an individual or account that is unknown to you.

Overpayment

When you’re selling something, especially online, be wary of how you get paid. A fraudster may send you a counterfeit cashier’s, personal or corporate cheque in an amount in excess of what they owe. You’ll be asked to deposit the cheque and e-transfer or wire the excess funds immediately back to them.

Spelling mistakes

Be skeptical of emails, messages or websites that contain misspelled common words; grammar errors that make it difficult to read or expressions that are used incorrectly. Email and web addresses should also be examined closely to see if there are subtle mistakes or differences.

Personal information request

Fraudsters may ask potential victims to provide more personal or financial information than is required for the transaction or discussion. Be suspicious if someone asks for copies of your passport, driver’s licence and social insurance number, or birth date, especially if you don’t know the requestor.

Unsolicited calls

You might get a call from someone claiming that you have a virus on your computer, you owe taxes or there has been fraudulent activity in your bank accounts. Hang up and call the organization yourself using the number from a trustworthy source, such as their official website.

Unsolicited friend requests on social media

Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know until you review their profile or ask your real-life friends if they know them. Does their profile look fairly empty or have posts that are very generic? Do they seem to be promising more than friendship? These are some red flags that point to a scam. Delete that request and block future ones.

It’s just too good to be true

Everybody loves a great deal, but shocking offers, unbelievable discounts and unreal rates may signal that the offer isn’t quite what it seems.

 
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Phishing Messages

Phishing is a common tactic used by scammers to trick you into sending money or providing sensitive information. Phishing messages are typically sent by email, text or social media direct messages. They appear to come from a real company and will often:

  • Ask you to validate your account information by clicking a link.
  • Inform you that there is a problem with your account that can be resolved by clicking a link.
  • Threaten you with action, such as closing your account or taking legal action if you don’t respond immediately.

If you receive a message that seems suspicious, here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Verify that it is legitimate by calling the company or service provider using their verified phone number.
  2. Don’t click any links or provide any personal information.
  3. Check the email address for suspicious spelling or characters.
  4. Look for inconsistencies such as pixelated logos or misspellings.
  5. Verify the hyperlink behind the link’s text or button by hovering over the text.
  6. Take a moment to analyze the situation before doing anything.
 
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Archives

We have been made aware of a fraudulent website created in an attempt to capture Collabria Mastercard cardholder details. 

Please remember to only use official Collabria websites and applications when managing your credit card account or submitting a credit card application, and avoid clicking on links from unknown sources. The following are the only official Collabria websites and applications:

Members are also encouraged to regularly review credit card statements for any suspicious activity and promptly report any unauthorized transactions to Collabria.

Please be advised that we have been alerted to the presence of fraudulent emails claiming to be from Sudbury Credit Union. The email states that you are required to urgently update your banking details using a link provided in the email. These emails are fraudulent. Do not use the link or provide your account details. If you receive an email claiming to be from Sudbury Credit Union and are unsure of its legitimacy, contact a branch to confirm prior to taking the action requested in the email. Sudbury Credit Union never solicits account information from members by email.

Additional tips to protect yourself from phishing emails

Phishing emails are a cyber criminal’s attempt to get sensitive information by pretending to be a legitimate sender. Here are some keys to spotting a phishing email:

  • The email asks you to share personal information.
  • The email involves a threat or unwanted consequence if you fail to comply.
  • The sender’s email address is suspicious. For example, the email address doesn’t match the organization or contains spelling mistakes.
  • The email contains a suspicious link. Hovering over the link will reveal the URL – check if it matches the URL of the organization’s legitimate website.