On April 12th there was a two hour seminar and booth display on the topic of Scam Jam. This two hour event was organized by the Better Business Bureau in partnership with several government and law enforcement agencies. I had the opportunity of attending and collected several pieces of information, some of which I will share in articles on this website.
The Better Business Bureau has produced a brochure titled " Start With Trust, Top Ten Scams". To receive a copy of the brochure please contact:
Better Business Bureau of the Maritime Provinces
1888 Brunswick Street, Suite 805
Halifax NS B3J 3J8
Out of the Top Ten Scams there are three that are more likely to apply to businesses. These are:
1. Phishing, Vishing and Smishing. These are requests by email, phone or text message asking for banking information such as bank account numbers or pin numbers. The key common tactic is to get the consumer to either fill in personal information or download malicious software onto a computer to compromise security and put your identity and money at risk.
2. Advance Fee Loans. Consumers and businesses have searched online and have come across companies that are willing to lend money no matter what your credit rating. If so, does it also state that is would only cost you a small fee to do this? Before you jump up and send in that processing fee or security deposit, be warned that this is likely a scam and advance fee loans are illegal in Canada. You should never have to pay a cash advance for a loan. Many people have filled out the applciation for their loan, wired their hard earned money and then have never heard back from the company. Now the consumer is out the anticipated "pre-approved" loan but also the processing fee as well.
3. Business Directory Scams A perennial problem that has plagued businesses for decades involves deceptive sales for directories. Commonly the scammer will call the business claiming they just want to update the company's entry in an online directory or the scammer might lie about being with the Yellow Pages. Businesses across the Maritimes have reported receiving a very misleading invoice from a company that looks very much like the legitimate yellow pages. This invoice is not a bill but a solicitation for a listing in al alternative business directory. The business is later billed hundreds of dollars for listing services they didn't agree to or for ads which they thought would be in the Yellow Pages. Be very wary of the information that you give out over the telephone and read all invoices carefully before agreeing to anything or simply paying for it.
The rest of the top ten list include:
1. Home repair rip-offs
2. Emergency Scams, also known as the grandparent or friends scam. A victim is asked to wire thousands of dollars for bail, lawyers fees or to replace money or items stolen. If you have been a target or victim of this scam you should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501
3. Credit Card Interest Rates/Debt Reduction Services
4. Job Hunter Scams/ Mystery Shopping Scams/Work at Home Scams
5. Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams
6. Vacation Scams
7. Cheque Overpayment
More information on Scam Jam will be included in future articles and on our facebook page and in our monthly e-newsletters.