Top 5 scams newcomers should be aware of

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What are scams?

  1. Ways to fool a person into something that can cause harm.
  2. Scams get money from people without their knowledge.
  3. Victims can have different levels of education, income, age or ethnicity.
  4. Newcomers may be easy to scam because:
    • we don’t know the laws yet
    • we are not familiar with common procedures
    • we are eager to be employed
  5. Scams can be done:
    • face to face
    • via telephone
    • email
    • online

Top 5 scams newcomers should know about:

  1. CRA phone scam
  2. How it’s done:

    • A person from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) calls.
    • He will say that you are under investigation for tax evasion.
    • He will ask for financial information.
    • He can say that you owe the government money.
    • He will tell you to pay using wire transfer or prepaid credit cards.
    • If you refuse, he will say that he will send the police to arrest you.

    What you need to know:

    • The CRA sends letters to communicate to taxpayers.
    • They will never call to ask for confidential information.
    • They will never threaten to arrest you.
    • If you receive a call like this, put the phone down.
    • Don’t give out any information.

  3. Job training scam
  4. How it’s done:

    • A prospective employer will promise to hire you.
    • First, you have to train for the job.
    • There is a training fee.
    • The company may add more courses that you need to take.
    • They will increase the fees.
    • After the training, they will not hire you.
    • They will say that you did not pass the training.

    What you need to know:

    • Never agree to a verbal promise of employment.
    • No contract means no proof of the commitment.
    • Ask for a receipt for payments for trainings or courses.
    • If they refuse to give you a receipt, it is a warning sign.

  5. Work from home scam
  6. How it works:

    • “Guaranteed jobs” are advertised online.
    • You can receive an email offering a job.
    • You are hired without an interview.
    • The job can be:
      • Getting and passing on payments for a foreign company. You will use your own bank account.
      • Secret shopper testing the services of a cheque-cashing or a money transfer company.
      • Writing or editing jobs offering a high hourly rate.
    • They will send you a cheque with a big amount to deposit in your account.
    • They will say that a percentage of the amount is yours.
    • You will be asked to send a big part of the money to a person or company.
    • You have to do it before the cheque clears.
    • The cheque will bounce.
    • The bank will hold you responsible.

    What you need to know:

    • No one will give you a job before they know you.
    • Beware of employers who do not wish to meet you.
    • No employer will ask you for money before they hire you.
    • Never give personal and financial information to people you don’t know and haven’t met.
    • Never send money to people you don’t know.

  7. Phishing
  8. How it works:

    • You receive an email asking you to click on a link.
    • It will lead to a fake website.
    • It may look like your bank’s website.
    • You will be asked to enter or verify personal information:
      • credit card number
      • an online banking password
      • Social Insurance Number
    • The scammer will use the information to get money from your account.

    What you need to know:

    • Your bank will never email or call you to ask for personal information. They have this on file.
    • Be careful about clicking on links from emails.
    • Contact your bank directly for changes in personal information.

  9. Credit card or debit card fraud
  10. How it works:

    • Someone steals your credit card or debit card Personal Identification Number (PIN).
    • They do this by:
      • Looking at your fingers when you key-in your PIN at an ABM.
      • Copying your card using a card skimmer.
    • The scammer uses your credit card.
    • They withdraw money using your debit card.

    What you need to know:

    • Always cover your fingers with your hand when you withdraw money.
    • Do not give your card number and PIN over the phone or in an email.
    • Beware of:
      • an unusual card reader
      • the cashier taking your debit card for a long time
      • the cashier insists on inserting your card herself
    • Report lost cards right away.

Warning signs:

Do not continue with a transaction when you read or hear:

  1. When the offer is too good to be true.
    They will say: “High returns with little or no risk—guaranteed!”
  2. You are pressured to make a decision fast.
    They will say: “Act now. Tomorrow will be too late.”
  3. You are asked to keep a secret.
    They will say: “Don’t tell anyone or this fantastic loophole will close.”
  4. You are asked to give financial or personal information over the phone, by email or on a website you do not know.
    They will say: “We just need to confirm your information.”
  5. You are asked to invest without much information.
    They will say: “It’s complicated. You don’t need to know the details.”

For help:

  1. Call your bank immediately.
  2. If you have been scammed by a seller, contact: Manitoba Consumer Protection Office
  3. Report a scam: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
  4. For financial or investment scams: Manitoba Securities Commission

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Community Resources

Read What kinds of fraud should newcomers to Canada watch out for? from the Government of Canada site.

Download The Little Black Book of Scams (Your guide to protection against fraud).

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Top 5 Scams Newcomers Should Be Aware of

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