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Fraud-Related Articles

The Toronto Chapter is currently working to provide relevant articles for local fraud fighters and the GTA community. Check back often as we make updates! Have an article that should be shared? Email admin@acfe-gta.com with a link, and we will read it!

  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On July 29, 2019, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced that they have developed four new videos to help Canadians and businesses better understand and exercise their privacy rights. Check them out at:

    https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-news/news-and-announcements/2019/an_190729/

  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 11:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Voice-activated, internet-connected personal assistants are all the rage these days. In a connected and digital global world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect your privacy.

    One important concern when it comes to "smart home devices" is the degree to which they are listening. They obviously listen for any commands the user might utter, but what else is it taking in, and how could that put privacy at risk? The recent news that these devices - Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, which an increasing number of folks are using, use -- are listening to us all the time, and are recording personal and sometimes intimate details about our lives...a sample of which are listened to by humans to improve the software... should be concerning.

    Security vendor, Sophos, reminds us that "those who choose to use this technology can’t and shouldn’t expect 100% privacy.

    And remember, no matter if it is an Android or Apple phone or watch, if you have turned on any of those personal assistants are (e.g., "Hey Siri" or "Hey Google")  then your Android phone & watch, or iPhone & Apple Watch are listening to everything and recording going on with and around you.

    If not for the ability of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod to listen, these things would become nothing more than door-stoppers and paperweights."

    There are certainly things users can do to limit the risk of unintended consequences. Here are just a few examples:

    • Not currently using your home device or don't need the phone's digital assistant? Mute it or turn it off in the device settings The mute/unmute button for the Amazon Echo for example, is right on top of the device. The “always listening” microphone will shut off until you’re ready to turn it back on.
    • Don’t connect sensitive accounts to your device On more than a few occasions, daisy chaining multiple accounts together has ended in tears for the user.
    • Erase old recordings If you use an Echo for example, then surely you have an Amazon account. If you go on Amazon’s website and look under “Manage my device” there’s a handy dashboard where you can delete individual queries or clear the entire search history.
    • Tighten those Google settings If you use Google Home, you’re already aware of the search giant’s appetite for data collection. But Google does offer tools to tighten things up. Like the Echo, Google Home has a mute button and a settings page online, where you can grant or take away various permissions.
  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you were caught in the recent Capital One breach (in Canada, Costco and Hudson Bay Company credit card holders are the most likely folks affected), you might find this Global News article helpful

    https://globalnews.ca/news/5706918/capital-one-breach-new-social-insurance-number-sin/.



  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please always be wary and skeptical when things don't seem right. Protect yourself.


    https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/warning-issued-after-police-uncover-pizza-delivery-scam-1.4526320

  • Thursday, July 18, 2019 2:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Credit card fraud continues to be a significant issue for consumers and business alike. While one can't always prevent credit card fraud form happening, one can create some hurdles that make it tougher for someone to get hold of tour credit cards and card numbers. For example, treating your credit cards and card numbers as if they were cash - with a lot of care - is one way to prevent potential abuse.

    The Federal Trade Commission of the United States has some suggestions as to what one can do to help keep your credit cards and numbers safe...

    Incorporating a few practices into your daily routine can help keep your cards and account numbers safe. For example:

    1. Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates and the phone number to report fraud for each company in a secure place.
    2. Don’t lend your card to anyone — even your children, friends, or roommates, and
    3. Don’t leave your cards, receipts, or statements around your home or office. When you no longer need them, SHRED them before throwing them away.

    Other fraud protection practices include:

    • Don’t give your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable. If you’ve never done business with them before, do an online search first for reviews or complaints.
    • Carry your cards separately from your wallet. It can minimize your losses if someone steals your wallet or purse. And carry only the card you need for that outing.
    • During a transaction, keep your eye on your card. Make sure you get it back before you walk away.
    • Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
    • Save your receipts to compare with your statement.
    • Open your bills promptly — or check them online often — and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made.
    • Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
    • Notify your card issuer if your address changes or if you will be traveling.
    • Don’t write your account number on the outside of an envelope.
    • Call the card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen. If you suspect that the card was used fraudulently, you may have to sign a statement under oath that you didn't make the purchases in question.
  • Saturday, March 09, 2019 3:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A recent report states that by next year almost half of the calls we receive on our mobile devices will be scam calls. These types of phone scams have been around for many years, but due to changes in technology, the criminals behind these scams are able to change and vary the methods they use to prey on their victims. Common phone scams include tax (IRS or CRA) scams, “Windows” scams, lottery or prize winning scams and others. Over the past many years there has been a dramatic increase in robocall scams, call spoofing scams and phone scams involving social engineering tactics. While these trends are somewhat disturbing, there are many things that one can do to protect themselves from being a victim.

    Proactive Measures (prior to getting a spam call):
    • The first step that many government agencies suggest is to register your number(s) on a “Do Not Call List”. Here is a link to the National Do Not Call list for Canadians. I know of articles debating the effectiveness of these types of lists and how government agencies (the FTC in this case) implementing these services are inundated with up to 375,000 complaints a month! Wow!

    • Many cell phone providers are now offering services (some free and some paid) that in essence will flag calls not associated to your contact list as potentially spam. Most of these services will not block these types of calls, but will only inform you that they “may” be spam and allow you to manually block them. Some providers are offering more advanced (and more costly) services which attempt to identify the caller’s name and location and identify them as spam. This is challenging for spoofed calls.

    • There are a variety of third-party applications that you can install on your mobile device (sorry for those that still have regular (non-voip) landlines). Most of these are subscription based and in essence they check every call that comes into your device against known “bad” numbers and will block calls from coming through. Some of these apps only work with various mobile carriers (and within various countries) though. Best to check before signing up. These apps are also great at filtering calls that are from “spoofed” numbers. Examples of these include:

    • You can set your device to only receive calls from known contacts (Do Not Disturb Mode), which is a great feature. However, you may end up missing calls by choosing this more drastic route.

    • Just don’t answer the call unless you recognize the number. Depending on the time of the day, or where a call is coming from, I often do not answer a call if I do not recognize the number. I let the call go to my voicemail and will listen to it as soon as I can, and call the person back if needed.

    Reactive Measures (if you get a spam call):

    • One method to help stop these types of call is blocking them on a one-by-one basis. While this may help, it is often time consuming and often not very effective due to the fact that the scammers can easily change the number they call you from. I do try to make a habit of doing this though.

    • If a caller asks you to hit a button (i.e. #) on your keypad to stop receiving these calls, DO NOT DO THIS!

    • It is best to just hang up. Arguing with the caller will not help. That being said, some have made some fantastic videos showing how they have played around with the scammers.

    • Try to not respond to any questions where the answer may be “Yes”

    • Most of these scams involve pressuring the victim into doing something. Treat these calls like you would treat a phishing email. If the call involves pressuring you into doing something, threatening to arrest you or saying you have a virus on your computer and they need to get remote access into your system to fix it, best to slow things down and not follow their instructions.

    • If you do believe that these types of calls may be true, then please use common sense before responding. Tax agencies, police and other government agencies would never require you to pay via bitcoin, or purchase iTunes gift cards to pay off any outstanding balances or to get someone out of jail. You can always hang up the phone and call your local law enforcement agency, bank or other agency for advice. There have however, been recent scams where you think you hang up the phone but it does not disconnect. Best to wait a few minutes after hanging up and make sure you hear the dial tone. Or better, make the call from another phone if you have one.

    • NEVER give out personal information on the phone (unless you are the one who placed the call). If your bank, or another organization you deal with calls you, they will already know this information. The scammers behind these calls can be very manipulating and convincing. Don’t fall for their tricks. Here is a great video showing how social engineers conduct these types of scams.

    And as always, help protect others from being victimized by sharing this article, or just by letting others know some of these methods mentioned above.

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