There are a few important tips that can keep you and your finances safe from scammers. Always be mindful when dealing with online and telephone requests. Here are a few things worth keeping in mind at all times.
If you get an email full of spelling and grammar mistakes, beware. Also, check email and web addresses before clicking or replying. Know who you are dealing with before you jump into an email conversation. Remember that the government, banks, Paypal, etc. will never ask you to click on a link from within an email. If you want to check your account status, go directly to your CRA account, your bank’s website, or Paypal. That way you will be sure to be signing into a legitimate account and not accidentally giving personal information away to the wrong people on a look-alike account.
Never wire money or make payments with virtual currencies or gift cards to someone you don’t know. If you receive a request from someone you think you might know or from family, it is always wise to check with them directly before setting up a transfer.
When you receive a friend request on social media, always check out the request sender by clicking on their profile before accepting their friend request. If you can’t easily answer “Why would this person want to be my friend?” it is best to delete the request. If you have no common friends, or the profile looks strange in any way, delete the request so you don’t get hacked.
If you get a call from someone claiming that your computer is infected with a virus, do not give them any information. They are trying to get into your system to try to hack into your bank accounts and other personal information. Remember, just as with email, the CRA, banks, Paypal, etc. will not ask you for personal information on a random call from an unknown number. If you are concerned that there might be a problem with your credit or debit card, hang up and call the number on the back of your card. That way you will know you are talking to the proper authorities who will help you track any fraudulent activity on your card.
As long as you keep these points in mind when receiving out of the blue requests, you should be able to stay safe. A little caution goes a long way!