Protect Yourself against Financial Crimes
The Toronto Police Service is committed to protecting the citizens of Toronto from all types of crimes.
Financial related crimes cost Canadians billions of dollars annually.
The Toronto Police Service's Financial Crimes, along with our Divisional fraud units, continuously work closely with our community partners in the private and public sectors to effectively and proactively investigate a myriad of fraudulent scams.
Although we have a strong team of investigators, who are dedicated to identifying, locating and bringing these offenders to justice, our main goal is to work with those vulnerable members in our community to prevent financial crimes entirely.
Through education, you can prevent being a victim of a financial crime. The perpetrators of these types of offenses may be stopped in their tracks if their targets are armed with a little bit of knowledge.
These offenders are only successful, if they are given the opportunity to deceive you.
You may be a target, but you don't have to be a victim.
Through these safety tips we hope to assist you and your family from becoming victims of financial related crimes. Simply click on the scams to learn about them. If you feel you've been a victim of a crime please contact your local police station and report it.
Unfortunately there are persons who are willing to try and target our seniors. Our seniors are targeted for many reasons: loneliness, age vulnerability, health related issues such as dementia and Alzheimer's.
Fraudulent telemarketers will contact seniors and attempt to build a rapport with them over a series of phone calls. Once this is accomplished they will convince the senior to send money to them through a common scam.
Fraudsters will pose as a variety of different persons including repair workers and renovation contractors. With home renovations people should be conscientious of company uniforms, ensure they have proper I.D., ensure actual construction is required, beware of cash deals, beware of rush deals, get a second opinion and speak to family members prior to an exchange of cash.
Fraudsters may also contact our seniors and pose as a grandchild requesting emergency money. They will state that they are in an emergency situation and don’t want to contact their parents. They will say such things as they need money and are in another country, they were in a car accident or they need money for bail.
- Seniors must be vigilant to these scams and ask the necessary questions of prospective contractors,
- Adult children and caregivers of seniors must be aware of these and any other scams and discuss them with their parents or patient,
- If there is a suspicion that a senior has been financially compromised then credit bureau checks should be completed to ascertain the extent.
The main means of communication that fraudsters use to target the public are: web-sites, emails, telemarketing and regular mail.
Fraudsters take advantage of modern communication tools to avoid any "face to face" contact with victims. Fraudsters use fictitious names, addresses and identities to avoid apprehension by law enforcement. Often fraudsters register phone numbers, websites and email accounts with fictitious information. Victims are asked to send money using money transfer services to another jurisdiction or country.
The more common schemes include:
- Grand Parent or Emergency Scam,
- Advanced Fee Loan,
- Secret Shoppers,
- Attorney Collection Scam,
- Fraudulent Work at Home Offers,
- Internet Auction Overpayment/Reimbursement,
- Internet Auction Advanced Fees,
- Internet Auction Ghost sales,
- Fraud loss Recovery Scam.
Consumers are reminded to be diligent and cautious when engaging in financial transactions not in person. Some of the below tips may be helpful in preventing this type of fraud:
- Never use verification information provided by the other party engaged in the financial transaction. The address provided by the other party may be false and the phone number may be registered to a fictitious name. Many scammers use toll free phone numbers to add to the appearance of legitimacy. They use mail box addresses that appear to be suites in well known financial districts.
- Consider your recourse. What would you do if the transaction goes bad? How would you recover your money? If you have sent money outside your jurisdiction you may not have any practical recourse to recover your money. If you have sent money outside your country there may not be any legal recourse to recover your money. Remember, once the money leaves Canada it is now outside the laws of Canada.
- Conduct independent research prior to engaging in the transaction. Have you searched the names and addresses on the internet for reports or complaints many against the company or person.
- If you are using a bank, money transfer service or e-commerce service for payment contact them directly. Never use email links provided by the other party engaged in the transaction.
Identity theft is a growing problem in Toronto and around the world. This phenomenon involves the capture of your personal information. Once your information is captured it can be used to get financial products in your name. The most critical pieces of information you need to safeguard are your name, date of birth and your social insurance number.
What are the signs your personal information have been compromised?
- A collection agency informs you they are collecting on an account in your name you never applied for,
- You notice you no longer receive all your mail including credit card statements,
- You receive letters and/or telephone calls informing you that you've been approved for credit products you never applied for,
- A creditor advises you that a credit application has been received with your name and address on it which you never applied for.
If you think your personal information has been compromised consider the following:
- Start taking detailed notes about what has occurred and what steps you've taken,
- Contact the fraud/security department of your creditors for any accounts that have been opened or tampered with. This includes utility companies, credit card companies, banks and other lenders,
- Ensure a "fraud alert" be placed on all your files immediately,
- Contact the two main Canadian credit bureaus: Equifax: (866) 828-5961 and Trans Union: (800) 663-9980.
ATM skimming is when fraudsters will compromise an ATM and rig it with a peephole camera and or electronic devices. This equipment will allow them to get your ATM card password and banking information. They then create a dummy card and access your bank accounts before you know you've been compromised
12 Tips to Help You Protect Yourself From ATM Theft:
- Always be mindful of your surroundings when using debit and credit cards at ATM machines or when purchasing items at a 'point of sale' payment card machine.
- Always cover the keypad when entering your password.
- Do not share your password with anyone.
- If an ATM machine appears to have been tampered with then please call the company that owns the machine.
- Get in the habit of using the same ATM machine for your transactions. Become familiar with it and be able to recognize changes to the machine.
- Use ATM machines inside banks rather than on the street (where they're easier for thieves to access).
- If you're visiting an unfamiliar ATM machine that is not inside a bank, examine it carefully for devices. Card or cash trapping devices need to be glued or taped to the card reader or cash dispenser. Look for 'extra' cameras beyond the basic and generally obvious ATM security camera.
- Never rely on the help of strangers to retrieve a confiscated card.
- Never use an ATM machine when other people are lingering.
- Report confiscated cards immediately. If you can, don't leave the machine. Instead call the bank from the ATM where your card was taken using a cell phone.
- Don't use ATM machines with extra signage or warnings posted on the machine.
- Never follow a link in a supposed bank email notice. If you are wondering if your bank has really contacted you via email, then close the email and directly type your bank's website address into your browser. Visit your account and look for update notices directly on your account or bank's website. The email is almost always a phishing scam.