Phishing is any e-mail falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate organization such as a financial institution, business or government agency. The e-mail may request or direct the consumer to visit a certain website to update or provide personal and/or financial information and passwords. It is really a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing fraud. This is also known as ‘brand spoofing.’
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC; formerly Phonebusters) reports phishing fraud scams continue to take a critical financial toll on Canadians. In 2014, the CAFC received 2,412 ‘phishing’ complaints. The 1,318 people who were identified as victims lost more than $245,600.
To recognize and avoid phishing:
- Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, email filters and firewall programs.
- Contact the financial institution immediately and report your suspicions.
- Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information.
- Look for misspelled words.
- Always report phishing or 'spoofed' emails.
If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact your local police service or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/ or the official entity that it appears to be from.
Join the Fraud Prevention Month 2015 conversation on your social media channels to prevent further harm and victimization by using the hashtags #stopfraud #fraudprevention and #dontbeavictim