Common money scams and how to protect yourself

It takes a lot of time and effort to settle into a new country, especially when so many things like banking are very different than what you’re used to. Some people may try to take advantage of what you don’t know to get access to your money. 

You can protect yourself and your money by learning how to spot suspicious requests and what to do if someone is asking for personal information. Here are four common scams that target new Canadians. 

Bank fraud

Scammers often pretend to work at your bank so they can get your financial information. They will contact you by phone, text or email and ask you for specific information like account numbers or your personal identification number (PIN). Be sure to always protect your PIN and never give it to anyone.

Tax fraud

The government of Canada will never call you and say, “You’re under investigation for tax fraud”. It’s definitely someone pretending to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and they will likely threaten you and ask for payment immediately. It is important to know that the CRA will never call, email or text you asking for your personal information either verbally or with a link to a website.

If you think someone is pretending to work at the CRA, hang up immediately and call their direct number 1-800-959-8281.

Job scams

If you’re looking for work and have posted your resume on many job boards, you may get a call or email that guarantees you a job if you pay for some extra training.  Anyone who says, “Pay for training now and get a job later,” is probably trying to scam you out of time and money. These scammers often pose as recruiters and show you fake job offers from companies. It’s important not to give your personal information to someone until you can be sure of who they are and where they work. 

Housing schemes

In this type of fraud, someone will pose as a landlord who doesn’t reside in Canada and ask you to pay a deposit upfront (usually with a wire transfer) so they can have someone show you the rental unit. Within a few emails or texts, they will ask for money for a security deposit and the first month's rent. This is a sure-fire tipoff that they’re probably not who they say they are. Before giving anyone your money, confirm the listing, book a showing and ask that the landlord be present. 

How to protect yourself

Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of you and your money. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud: 

Ask suspicious callers to identify themselves and give you their contact information. Then, contact the company directly to confirm they are who they say they are.

Verify the sender of an email by scrolling over the address – most scammers will use an address that is not associated with any company or agency.

Protect your banking information and never give anyone your bank account number or personal identification number (PIN).

Do not respond to calls, texts or emails that direct you to a website to complete information.

Delete any emails or texts that ask you to click on a link to provide personal information.

Do not respond to anyone asking for urgent payment or money transfers as this is almost always the sign of a scam.

These are just some examples of common frauds and scams that target new Canadians. The best way to protect yourself and your money is to spot the scammers ahead of time. Check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and review their list of other current frauds so you are well-prepared or report any scams.

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice on any subject matter.

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