March is fraud prevention month in Canada and it’s a good time for all of us to remember this golden rule: If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Sadly, the Sunshine Coast is a breeding ground for scam artists to target victims in all kinds of fraud, be it computer, phone or through in-person sales calls.
With a high senior population it is no wonder that we have many reported victims here on the Coast, but thanks to the Sunshine Coast RCMP, ElderU and other community partners, residents are learning to fight back and not be a victim.
A six-hour course, offered by Elder U and taught by Const. Jason Aho is helping to teach seniors how to recognize these common scams that are targeting the Sunshine Coast and so many other communities. The course runs for another two Mondays.
This past Wednesday, the Gibsons and District Public Library hosted a successful workshop on the subject of identity theft.
Did you know that identity theft is the fastest growing and most serious non-violent crime in North America? From credit card information theft, financial and personal document theft, and data breeches to name a few, thieves are striking indiscriminately, leaving individuals, businesses, governments and organizations of all sizes vulnerable to their attacks.
The impact on victims can be devastating impacting their personal finances, credit ratings, criminal records and worse.
It is why these workshops and information during this month — and every month for that matter — are so vitally important.
According to RCMP more than $7 million was reported lost last year due to mass marketing fraud in Canada. And the RCMP estimates that there is probably millions more unaccounted for because people are too ashamed about being deceived and they don’t want others to know they have fallen victim.
If a scam artist has contacted you offering up the “deal of a lifetime” best to just hang up the phone. But then, report it. Report the crime to the RCMP, and report the crime to the Competition Bureau. These reports are vital to law enforcement and to their anti-fraud efforts.
And don’t be ashamed if you have fallen victim to a scam. You are not alone, but by not reporting it, you can help the scam artists continue to prey on others. Recognize fraud, report fraud and stop fraud. Fraud impacts on all of us.