Yesterday, I received an e mail from one of my clients that I want to share with you:
“I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I came down here to London, United Kingdom for a short vacation unfortunately i was mugged at the park of the hotel where i stayed, all cash, credit card and cell were stolen off me but luckily for me i still have my passports with me.
I’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and my flight leaves in less than 6hrs from now but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let me leave until i settle the bills, I’m freaked out at the moment…”
The e mail goes on to ask for money in wanting me to reply with some help. None of it is true, but many people fall for this scam.
Internet fraud is THE fastest growing white collar crime. This person’s account was hacked and the e mails went to everybody in her address book.
There is also the Nigerian scam that you’ve inherited a ton of money but just need to send some of the tax payment that’s due, and you’ll get your five, 10, or 20 million dollars. Plus, last week, I received an e mail that my Paypal account needed to be updated, and one that my Bank of Montreal account had been hacked. That one was easy, as I don’t deal with the Bank of Montreal.
You and I may know these are all scams, but literally billions of these get sent out, and lots of people do get taken.
To make sure you, or your family or friends, don’t get taken, here are a few easy steps to make sure it doesn’t happen:
If in doubt, first call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 888 495 8501
Make sure you educated you older parents that may have e mail access, but more likely to fall for the “family member needs help” scam, or to share personal information on-line.
Never ever, ever, supply any personal information by e mail. If it’s a business you deal with, call them at a number you know is accurate, and not one that the scamster supplied.
If you’re being asked for money to help a family member or friend, contact that person, or someone who knows them by phone.
Get informed and aware. There is a great booklet that explains most of the common scams that’s put out by Credit Unions. It’s called Defend Yourself from Fraud. Go into a credit union branch and find the display, or ask them for it.
Knowledge is power, and this is one area of the internet where you constantly have to watch yourself.