How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud

Mar 11, 2016 | Biz/Tech, News


Our experts tell you ways to avoid fraud. (FLIKR)

Rebecca Pilozo-Melara

A woman claims that a Toronto travel agent walked away with nearly 25-thousand dollars without booking her family’s dream vacation.

According to experts, fraud can happen to anyone. Jessica Pontone, Corporate and Public Affairs Manager of TD Bank Group, says, “There are many types of fraud students need to be aware of and avoid. This includes: identification theft, financial crimes, online dating scams, employment scams, counterfeit name-brand purchases, landlord fraud, and many more.”

With advanced technology scammers can use different methods to access your information. Humber News spoke to experts on how you can avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Be Careful Who You Share Your Information With

Pontone shares that TD Canada suggests that students should take extra precautions with sharing their personal information, like SIN numbers, unless you are certain that the person requesting this information is legally entitled to it. TD Canada suggests, “open all bills and statements immediately and remember to always shred identifying documents when you are done with them.” If you ever move, TD Canada recommends to change your mailing address immediately to avoid your mail getting sent to your old home address.

Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management at Humber College, Rob Kilfoyle says, “The best ways to avoid fraud is to maintain really good security of your personal information and things like credit cards. Make sure you have  really strong encryption and security on things like a credit card and be careful where you use them.”

Kilfoyle says although Humber uses stringent technologies, students should continue to be cautious.

Pontone also shares that TD Canada advises reviewing credit card statements often and, “…order and review your free credit.” Equifax or Transunion offer free credit reports even if you don’t have student loans or credit accounts.

Be Smart With Your Passwords

When it comes to passwords, it’s important to make them strong. Adding unique characters is one of the many ways you can ensure you have a stronger password. TD Canada recommends that passwords and PIN’s shouldn’t be related to your “…license, date of birth, phone number.”

Kilfoyle says that It’s important not to forget about having passwords on your credit cards.

“I encourage students that use their credit cards to use a pin when they are making their purchases and if they don’t have one they should inquire that with their bank about getting that newer technology,” Kilfoyle said.

Be Cautious Online

Email scammers happen often, and TD Canada reminds students that banks will never ask customers for personal information, SIN, PINS or any other banking information over email.

TD also advises students to, “Watch out for Smishing texts and do not launch any URLs you may not trust.”

When shopping online Kilfoyle says it’s important to choose the websites you give your credit card information to wisely. “If you don’t trust the source where you’re putting your information then I wouldn’t do it.”

If you are a victim here’s what you need to do

“It (fraud) is a criminal code matter. While we can try to limit exposure and do things here eternally at Humber, if you’ve been a victim of fraud you should first contact the Toronto Police to report it. Then I’d say cancel what has been compromised and report it in the department of public safety,”says Kilfoyle.