The top 10 scams in Canada
Police trying to create awareness of common scams
In an attempt to create awareness and protect people from scammers, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has compiled a list of the top 10 scams in Canada.
This one has been around for years. You get a message saying you've won a contest, lottery or sweepstakes event. Then you're asked to pay fees or taxes in advance in order to claim your prize.
Scammers use "clickbait" such as news stories, celebrity photos or fake news to get you to click on something that actually downloads malware that can harm your computer.
This scam takes personal information such as your credit card number and promises to lower your credit card interest rates, but then charges fees to your card.
Government grant scam
This one requests fees so you can collect a government grant award for thousands of dollars. It may mention programs you've heard of in the news.
Emergency or 'grandparent' scam
Often preying on older people, a scammer poses as a relative in a call or email claiming to have been injured, robbed or arrested while travelling overseas. They ask their target to send money right away.
Medical alert scam
This involves a call or a visit from a "company" claiming a concerned family member has ordered you a medical alert device in case of an emergency. The scammer takes credit card or banking information, but never delivers the device.
Copycat website scam
Scammers send an email, text or social media post about a sale or exciting new product, linking to a website that looks like a legitimate retailer. After you place an order using your credit card, you get a cheap counterfeit product or nothing at all.
'Are you calling yourself?' scam
This trick puts your number in so it shows up as on your own on your phone's caller ID, which causes many people to answer the phone or return the call.
Tech support scam
A call or pop-up ad on your computer claims to be from a computer company like Microsoft or Apple about a problem on your computer and asks you to give the tech support department access to your hard drive to fix it. Instead, malware is installed on your computer and the scammers can then steal your personal information.
This trick starts with a call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent — often the Canada Revenue Agency — who say they are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes or for skipping out on jury duty. They claim you can get out of it by sending them money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. CRA does not do business in this fashion.
Credit rating company Equifax suggests checking your credit report at least once a year and reporting discrepancies immediately. Using strong passwords, activating the firewall on your computer, and never giving out personal information unless you have initiated the contact are some of the top tips to avoid fraud.