Avoiding Scams

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Criminals want you to do all the work. First they earn your trust, then they manipulate you into giving them money. Sometimes they have you send them money directly from your hard-earned savings. They may ask you to cash phony cheques. Or they might deposit fraudulent money transfers or wires into your account.

Depending on the type of scam, criminals will use a variety of methods to target and approach a potential victim. For instance, they may use reputable websites and newspaper ads to appear legitimate. They might give you some money to earn your trust. They may pose as potential buyers, sellers, employers, business partners, roommates, relatives, friends, or romantic partners. Criminals have even posed as lottery organizations, charities, and diplomats. The many faces they assume are endless, and they will target anyone. Including you.

Each year thousands of Canadians fall victim to scams. While the scams can take a variety of forms, the end result is the always same: financial loss. Be vigilant - don’t fall prey to scam artists.

To learn more about these types of fraudulent activities, including the most recent scams targeting Canadians, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Being aware that scams exist and educating yourself on how to avoid them is your best defense. Protect yourself by following these simple tips:

  • Never complete financial transactions on behalf of strangers or individuals that you don’t know well and haven’t met in person
  • Be wary of any offer that sounds too good to be true – chances are it is 
  • Be aware that you’re responsible for any deposits to your account. Cheques and other items deposited to your account can be reversed long after the item has cleared and/or the hold has been removed – forgeries have no time limitations
  • Be careful when mailing, wiring, or transferring funds. Don’t feel pressured to send funds until you’re completely confident the transaction is legitimate. Remember that regardless of how much verification you have, if you don’t actually know the individual, you could still end up being a victim of fraud
  • If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a cheque, consider having the writer certify the funds by their financial institution
  • Thoroughly research potential job opportunities, lottery organizations, and business ventures before engaging with them – they may be scams. Please visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca for more information on current scams
  • Never give out personal information or credit card information over the telephone unless you’re certain of whom you’re talking to, like your insurance company, a government office or your bank. They should ask you for answers to security questions that only you or they would have access to and the answers for (only if you place the call yourself, otherwise if they have been hacked it doesn’t matter if it is an insurance company or government office or bank).

What to do if you suspect a scam:

Notify Alterna Savings immediately by visiting a branch or contacting us by phone at the following numbers:
Ottawa  613.560.0100
Toronto  416.252.5625
Toll-free   1.877.560.0100

Report the incident to your local police department or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre using the following contact information:
Phone   1.888.495.8501
E-Mail:   info@antifraudcentre.ca

Please note that Alterna Savings provides the above information for your personal use only, and will not be held liable for any loss or damage as a result. Alterna Savings does not guarantee that the information provided is complete or accurate. Links from this website to other websites, or references to products, services or publications other than those of Alterna Savings, do not imply that Alterna Savings endorses such websites, products, services or publications.