27 Aug Knowledge is the best protection against fraud
We have recently been hearing quite a bit about fraud. Everything we hear doesn’t help us sleep better at night. What is it that is happening and what de we need to know to avoid falling into the many traps created by our connected world?
Having reached out to the Autorité des marchés financiers we offer here summary of all that is important to know to avoid fraud.
What you need to know to avoid fraud
MESSAGES FROM A “KNOWN” SOURCE
First of all, we all should know that no financial institution will ever contact us by email, phone or text to ask us to update our file. Therefore, we must absolutely avoid giving our personal information or passwords through Internet links. Nor should we ever open an attachment without being certain that it comes from a reliable source.
If in doubt, simply call the company that contacted us using the official phone number listed on their website and not the one provided in the email or on the phone.
BE AWARE: Even fraudsters use the potential threat of fraud as an excuse to extract personal information. Do not fall in the trap!
HOW TO DETECT THE THEFT OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
Even if signing up for a credit report monitoring service allows to activate an alert system, this is not an absolute guarantee against fraud. Here is what you should do:
- Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements and any new invoices you receive in the mail.
- Immediately report any suspicious activity to your financial institution. If required, ask for the cancellation of your credit cards or the issuing of new pieces of identification.
- Check your credit reports from the main credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion) regularly to see whether they contain errors.
- You could also ask the main credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file. A fraud alert lets lenders know that they should pay special attention to credit applications involving you and that they must confirm your identity before approving any applications.
WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF YOU ARE VICTIMS OF IDENTITY THEFT
Here are some examples of what a fraudster can do with your personal information:
- Empty your bank account.
- Make purchases with your credit card.
- Sell your house and acquire the money.
- Borrow money in your name.
INFORMATION THAT SHOULD NEVER BE MADE PUBLIC
- Your social insurance number
- Your credit and debit card numbers
- Your passwords
- The answers to “secret questions” that your financial institution uses to identify you (your birthplace, your mother’s maiden name, etc.).
Other information you may not want to share publicly:
- Your date of birth
- Your home address
- Your place of work
- Your marital status
- Your spouse’s name
QUESTIONABLE INVESTMENT DEALS
We all dream of discovering the “trick” that will allow us to access wealth and fraudsters know how to exploit this desire in each of us.
Here are some examples of situations that should set off alarm bells and allow us to detect if the person trying to convince us this amazing opportunity is really honest:
- Someone you’re unfamiliar with offers you investments on the Internet.
- The investment you’re being offered is too good to be true.
- You’re asked to act fast.
- The person claims to have privileged information. (If someone very generously gives you a “hot tip,” it’s likely that the information is false.)
- Research the investment product you are being offered.
- Make sure the dealer is registered with the AMF and his or her phone number matches the one in the register.
- Ask for the AMF’s opinion about an investment platform or adviser.
- Check the warning list of websites and companies that solicit investors illegally.
- Be wary of promises of high returns on low-risk investments.
- Report any cases of fraud or potential offences to the AMF.
- Recommended: Sign up for warnings from the AMF.
- Send money to anyone you don’t know on the basis of an unsolicited call or e-mail.
- Make a hasty decision or decide anything under pressure.
- Give out sensitive personal information, such as banking information, the number of your driver’s licence or details from a utility bill.
- Invest with a dealer that isn’t registered with the AMF.
- Not recommended: Making an investment using your credit card.
Are you a victim of fraud? Report it! If you are a victim of fraud or have witnessed suspicious activity, notify the AMF now.