March is Fraud Prevention Month and the RCMP encourages Nova Scotians to protect themselves from fraud by learning how to recognize it and by safeguarding their personal information.
In the hands of the wrong person, personal information could mean serious financial consequences.
``Be cautious when sharing your personal information,” says Sgt. Tom Murdock of the Nova Scotia RCMP financial crime team. “Be mindful of what you share and who you share it with. Each personal detail, while seemingly innocent on its own, is a piece of a puzzle that when put together, provides a very clear picture of your personal and financial identity.”
Criminals will go to great lengths to acquire personal information, and there are many scams by which they do so. Someone may call and pose as a legitimate business, person, or government official to get an individual to provide their personal information. Or they will send emails that appear to be from legitimate organizations urging an immediate response about an account issue in hopes of obtaining banking or credit card information. Some simply observe financial transactions at ATM or retail debit machines to get collect credit card or bank card numbers. While others go through people’s mail or garbage to find personal information.
The RCMP offers these tips to protect yourself from fraud:
· Be wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.
· Never voluntarily give out information to unknown callers.
· Always question urgent requests for money, particularly from people you do not know.
· Keep in mind that individuals may be watching as you enter your PIN while using an ATM machine or retail debit machine.
· Be cautious about the personal information your share online through social media.
For more information on common scams and to get more tips to protect yourself, please visit http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm. If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.