Top 5 scams newcomers should know about

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What are scams?

  1. A scam is a way to fool a person into something that can cause harm.
  2. Scammers lie to victims to get money from them.
  3. Anybody can be a victim if they’re not careful.
  4. Newcomers may be easy to scam because:
    • we may not know all the laws yet
    • we are not familiar with common procedures
    • we are eager to be employed or to belong
  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.
    • They will say that you are under investigation for tax evasion.
    • They can say that you owe the government money.
    • They will tell you to pay using wire transfer or prepaid credit cards.
    • They will ask for financial information.
    • They will say that the police will be coming to arrest you if you refuse to pay.

    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.
    • Turn off the phone if you receive a call like this.
    • Don’t give out any personal information.

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

    • A prospective employer will promise to hire you.
    • They will say you need 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.
    • They will not hire you after the training.
    • 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.
    • It is a warning sign if they refuse to give you a receipt.

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

    • “Guaranteed jobs” are advertised online.
    • You may receive an email offering a job.
    • They hire without an interview.
    • The job can be:
      • Getting and passing on payments for a foreign company. They will ask you to use your own bank account.
      • Secret shopper (To test 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.
    • A person pretending to be from your bank or a government agency can also call you. They will say that there is a problem with your account and you have to give them your personal information.
    • an example of this is the Health Card scam.

    What you need to know:

    • Your bank or government agencies 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 or government agencies 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 hand when you put in your PIN to 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 /li>

    • 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 (2nd edition). It’s available in eight languages.

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