WHAT IS A SCAM?

Here are definitions for some of the common terms we use throughout the Senior Fraud Alert course:

  • SCAM A dishonest scheme; a fraud. “He scams people out of their savings”
  • FRAUD Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. “He was convicted of fraud”
  • SCAMMER A person who commits fraud or participates in a dishonest scheme. “Scammers are preying on people’s good intentions”

There are two new types of scams around us now:

The puppy scam: Fraudsters advertise a free, or way below market-value, puppy. When it comes time to retrieve the animal, the “owner” claims they had to unexpectedly relocate to another province to care for a sick child. To continue the “adoption” process, the purchaser is sent a link to a shipping company where they must pay hundreds of dollars to have the puppy sent back to Alberta, and sometimes additional fees for documentation, medical records, and more. The puppy doesn’t exist, but the financial loss is very real.

The utility rebate scam: Earlier this year, the Alberta government announced a rebate on monthly utility bills, to counteract the rising cost of gas. This rebate will be automatically applied to your bills. However, some Albertans are getting texts from fraudsters—often claiming to be Service Alberta—to say they must apply for the energy rebate by clicking a link. This link directs to a site that looks official but is part of a scam to steal your information.

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the CAFC’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway.

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