Other common scams

Thousands of Canadians are defrauded each year. Your risk of becoming a fraud victim is not linked to your age, race, income or geographic location. Scammers don’t care about any of that – they just want your money.

While there are some common sources of fraud that affect financial institutions, there are other forms of financial fraud or scams that members should also be aware of common Consumer scams include:

  • Tax/immigration/refugees scam (where someone posing as the Canada Revenue Agency, the Immigration and Refugee Board or the police calls saying you owe money and will be deported or jailed you if you don’t pay)
  • Nigerian letter scams (where you get a letter from someone in Africa asking you to give or send money in return for a major payout)
  • “You are a winner” and pay-to-play (where you receive an email or phone call telling you you’ve won a prize, or have to pay to enter into a contest)
  • Pre-qualified loans and credit cards (where you’re told by mail or phone that you’ve prequalified for a credit card you haven’t applied for);
  • Other con jobs (where you are persuaded to provide money for a false business or project)

Small business scams

Individuals aren’t the only ones targeted for scams. Small businesses are also targeted, often because owners may be inexperienced, the business has no legal staff or the business may need financial assistance.

Common business scams to avoid include:

  • Advance fee loan scams (where loans are offered at very reasonable rates via newspaper ad, on the Internet or by email. The scammer may ask for up-front money for insurance purposes or to transfer loan funds)
  • Work-at home scams (where you’re offered a job but are required to pay for the information or materials you need; rather than helping you make money, yours is stolen)
  • Bills out of the blue (where your business receives a "last chance" invoice for a listing in a "business directory,” or you receive an invoice indicating that an urgent delivery of office supplies is awaiting confirmation of your address, asking you to pay immediately)

Learn more about the varying types of fraud scams and tips to protect yourself in the Competition Bureau's Little Book of Scams.

How to protect yourself

In most cases, the old adage rings true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You should not respond to any of unsolicited offers, and think critically before you enter into any financial or business transaction with someone you don’t know. Examine all invoices, bills and correspondence carefully – if you’re not sure whether documentation is real, ask your credit union or the Better Business Bureau for advice.

If you suspect that your personal information has been stolen, or you have been defrauded in any way, contact Vancity immediately at 604.877.7000 (or toll free 1.888.Vancity). You should also contact the fraud department of a credit bureau such as Equifax Canada (1.877.227.8800).

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