According to the Better Business Bureau, Canadians lost over $61 million in 2015 by falling victim to the various kinds of scams that predatory thieves had invented and deployed that year. As home security experts, we at Pro Locksmiths know that there is more than one way these dishonest individuals like to take advantage of people; break-ins are just the beginning. Unless you are a convenient and ripe target (we’ll talk more about how NOT to be one this summer, in an upcoming article) many criminals are finding it easier to target victims without ever coming face to face with them.
If it seems strange that an emergency locksmith in the GTA would be concerned with other types of scams, consider that we have been protecting home and business owners in the Greater Toronto Area for over 30 years. We know all the ways people can be vulnerable, and we have dedicated our company to securing homes, commercial businesses and industrial properties so their owners can experience safety and peace of mind. It’s awful that in today’s modern era, criminals seem to have become even more cowardly; while it’s sometimes possible to feel a bit of grudging respect for a daredevil cat burglar who gets past the overnight alarms at Tiffany’s, we feel none at all for the scam artist who steals a senior citizen’s life savings over the phone. Here’s what to watch out for, and how to protect yourself.
Top scams and how to prevent yourself from falling prey to them
- CRA Scam. This is where someone pretending to represent the Canada Revenue Agency emails or calls saying you have been assessed, and found to owe X amount of money on your taxes – and if you don’t pay up immediately, you will be arrested or deported. This plays on people’s understandable fears of the tax man, but the CRA just doesn’t operate that way; you would have to have received written payment requests from the government, and you would not be threatened with arrest or deportation. If you receive such a call, simply hang up. Never give your SIN number by phone or email.
- Online Dating Scam. This is where you think you’ve met the love of your life; you message back and forth constantly, learning all the intimate details of each other’s lives, but never actually meeting. Soon, your loved one gets in a jam; maybe it’s an uninsured illness, desperately needed school fees, or maybe they’re from an impoverished country where they’ll go to jail unless they pay extortion money. You are asked for money, which you willing give. The catch is: this person, if they even exist as the person you think they are, isn’t in love with you. It’s all a scam. Beware of people who have excuse after excuse for never being able to meet you in person even when you offer to take on all the expenses of visiting them.
- Prize Scam. Congratulations, you’ve won! Whether it’s a big sum of cash, a property, a dream vacation, or some other big-ticket item, you are contacted by someone who says you filled out a ballot for something and now you’ve won. There’s one hitch, though: you have to pay a fee so they can release your prize winnings. Now, some people can’t resist filling out a ballot everywhere they go, so they won’t actually remember if they have entered a contest or not, and simply love to believe they’ve been lucky. You never need to pay a fee to receive winnings. Contact the lottery corporation yourself.
These are just the top 3 scams – there are many more! Just as you protect your valuables with expert advice and high quality home security products from Pro Locksmiths, protect yourself also by exercising common sense about other forms of scams.