5 scams fooling even the smartest victims – how to protect yourself

(NC) Think you can’t be tricked be the latest frauds and hacks? Companies continually work harder to protect your data from attacks, but fraudsters are also working harder to access it, which can leave your personal and financial information at risk.

“Even as technology advances to make our lives easier with things like thumbprint, voice and facial recognition, we cannot afford to let our guard down,” advises Doretta Thompson, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), financial literacy leader. “Each of us must continue to be personally diligent because the constant threat of fraud, both online and off.”

Here are some scams to watch out for:

Home improvement scams

The costs for renovations can add up quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to cut corners and save in ways that compromise your money and safety. Be careful if a contractor asks you for cash in exchange for a discount and ensure that everyone who will work on your home is licensed to do that type of work. Also, be sure you have a contract spelling out exactly what type of work will be done, what finishes will be used and who is liable if something goes wrong.

Credit card fraud

According to a new survey conducted for CPA Canada, 70 per cent of us are more concerned about fraud today than we were five years ago. Still, even though we’re worried about it, many of us are still getting scammed – 19 per cent reported they were aware of having been the victim of credit card fraud. For example, when entering credit card information on a website, use a secure internet connection and look for the “s” in the website’s “https”, which stands for “secure”.

Identity theft

Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is your identity. Never give out your number to anyone except to an employer who has already hired you, government programs such as those for student loans, and the CRA for income tax purposes.

Romance scams

We can be at our most vulnerable when lonely, looking for love and companionship, and our decision-making abilities can be compromised. If using a dating site or meeting someone online, let them into your life slowly and be very wary if they ask you for money for any reason – even if it’s just for a trip to see you.

Tax scams

More prevalent during tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency has been warning Canadians to be very wary of this common fraud that deceives too many people every year. Remember that the CRA will never ask for personal information via email or the phone, or engage in threatening or aggressive communications.

Find more information at http://cpacanada.ca/financialliteracy.

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