How to give online without being had
Tips on how to support causes you care about while staying protected.Read article
Senior Program Manager, Tech for Good & TELUS Wise
We are buying a lot online, scams are multiplying and becoming more intricate.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, fraud and cybercrime resulted in $530 million in losses in 2022 (up 40% from 2021). How can you protect yourself? Knowledge is the first step. As an online consumer, it’s critical to know how to spot a marketing scam and take the appropriate steps to avoid falling victim.
In part one of this two-part series, we are outlining three of the six most prevalent marketing scams that are currently costing people in Canada a lot of money.
Everyone wants in on crypto. It’s touted as quick, easy money; however crypto is still relatively new and generally misunderstood.
In 2022 losses from crypto investment fraud totalled $308.6 million, up from $164 million in 2021, as reported by the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre. Crypto scams also claim the second spot in the Better Business Bureau’s ranking of the top 10 riskiest scams. Their risk index accounts for three key factors: exposure (volume of reports), susceptibility (percentage of people who lost money) and monetary loss.
In a January 2023 story, Global News detailed how the now popular “pig butchering” crypto scam originates and plays out. It starts when someone clicks on a fraudulent crypto trading ad online. They then receive an unsolicited message via text, email or social media and are quickly asked to move the communication to another, harder-to-trace messaging platform. Once a relationship is established, the scammer asks for a deposit. Fake screenshots of account statements showing large gains then follow. This technique is known as “fattening the pig.”
In addition to victims getting tricked into sending funds for fictional crypto accounts, they might also be convinced into downloading malicious trading apps or file sharing software which give scammers access to personal/financial information, or engaging with fake recovery specialists who promise to help get lost money back.
How can you avoid crypto scams?
Reviews have become a vital part of the digital economy and can be incredibly helpful in getting an unbiased opinion about hotels, restaurants, doctors and more. But what you read may not always be what it seems.
Fake reviews are a common practice online. Many companies recruit employees or hire reputation management firms to post positive reviews to influence their ratings and get a leg up on the competition.
How can you tell if reviews are fake? Typically, you’ll see a surge of glowing reviews in a short time period. Fake reviews often aren’t specific – lots of exaggerated praise, but no real explanation as to why the product/service/location was so great. They also have a scripted feel – a common language, tone and overuse of buzzwords.
How can you avoid falling prey to fake reviews?
You’ve been seeing the ads all over social media and finally decide to buy. Your transaction goes through and you are notified about the expected delivery date. The day comes. No package at your door. In fact, the purchase never arrives at all. According to the Competition Bureau Canada, in 2020 alone, merchandise scams, including non-delivery, accounted for $8.7 million in Canadian losses.
Going one step further, some scammers are now leveraging online deliveries to hook people into phishing scams. A recent City News story detailed the experiences of a Toronto woman who was expecting delivery of purchases made online when she received a text from Canada Post asking her to pay $1.25 to have the delivery rescheduled. The text requested debit card information, as well as her email and date of birth. She became suspicious and called her bank, requesting to cancel her debit card and freeze her accounts. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in January 2023 alone, there were 200 reports of this “brand spoofing” phishing text trying to take advantage of people buying online.
How can you avoid non-delivery scams?
Check out this TELUS Wise online basics video to learn more about avoiding online scams and look for Part 2 of the Buyer Beware series coming soon.
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