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March - Fraud Prevention Month

Educate yourself about common scams and warning signs to avoid becoming one of the thousands of people each year who fall victim to these crimes.

The month of March is Fraud Prevention Month, so we'd like to share information with you about a few common scams that target students.

Job and Employment Scams

These scams target people looking for jobs. They are often characterized by promising or guaranteeing income, without requiring a lot of effort. There are two types we want to bring to your attention:

  • Work from home scams: Often promoted through email, online advertising or in newspapers, many of these scams are fronts for illegal money-laundering activity or pyramid schemes. These scams are looking for your bank account details to access your account. 
    • Watch for:
      • Requests to cash a cheque (which may be counterfeit) with instructions to transfer a portion as a money transfer 
      • Requests asking you to receive and pass along payment for a foreign company
      • A job that offers a commission for every payment that you pass on
  • Guaranteed employment or income scam: Watch for this scam via spam email. They'll request a payment of an up-front fee for a business plan, start-up materials, or software. This scam is looking for your payment and won't deliver what you expected. They may also be encouraging you to recruit other people to the scheme.

How to protect yourself:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited emails or texts, particularly those offering employment
  • Be wary of companies using web based email addresses
  • If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • Watch where you post your resume, scammers use legitimate websites to seek victims
  • A legitimate employer will not send you funds and request a portion of it back
  • Do your research, a search could save you thousands of dollars in lost income

Tax Scams

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has in the past been impersonated by fraudsters phishing for information. There are two common variations:

  • False refunds: A notification by phone or email from the CRA claiming there is a refund, but that the recipient must provide personal information to receive the refund
  • Immediate demands for payment: Consumers or businesses may receive a notification by phone or email that they owe money and must pay immediately to avoid a fine, jail time or deportation 

How to protect yourself:

  • Although the CRA may ask personal verification questions, they will not ask you for specific information regarding your passport, driver's license or health care coverage 

Rental Scams

There are a few variations of rental scams, generally the scammer is either after your personal information or rental deposit money.

  • False Advertisements: Scammers can create fraudulent classified ads, often online, for rentals available in a preferred location at a rate below average. Interested consumers are asked to complete a rental questionnaire, which asks for personal information that may include: banking details, contact information, occupation, income.

  • Overseas Landlord: Another common scam is where the landlord works overseas and they are discounting rent to get good tenants who will "take care" of the property while they are away on business. A showing or tours of the property is unavailable but they offer a full refund can be given if the rental does not meet the consumer's satisfaction. A potential renter is then asked to send first and last months' rent (either by a money service business, email money transfer or bank wire) in exchange for the keys that never come.

How to protect yourself:

  • Refuse to transfer any funds without first seeing a property and thoroughly reviewing a rental contract
  • When searching for a rental, go to the address, schedule a showing and confirm it is available
  • Search properties to see if there are duplicate postings with different rental rates
  • Contact Equifax and Transunion if you've provided sensitive information on an application
  • Trust your gut

A Quality Money project, brought to you by your Students’ Union.