Crime Prevention Week - How Do I Prevent Fraud?

Fraud Prevention Seminars

Every year we see more than a thousand frauds and scams in the Peel Region making them a key concern for police and something members of the public should be aware of. In 2016, there were 1,665 frauds reported and 1,957 in 2017.

To help the community stay informed so they can be proactive in preventing this type of activity we offer educational seminars on fraud prevention. You can find out more by visiting our calendar.


Common Fraud and Scams:

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Fraud

ATM scams involve criminals stealing debit or credit card numbers and corresponding pin codes when victims use ATM machines. This can result in unauthorized withdrawals from the victim's account. When credit and debit card information is stolen electronically at an ATM it's called Card Skimming.

Credit and Debit Card Fraud

If you believe your bank account (business or personal) has been compromised and unauthorized transactions that have occurred, you should first contact the bank. If the bank reviews your complaints and takes responsibility for the loss, they will report it to police, there is no need for you to report it.

If the bank determines that you are responsible for the loss, you must get a letter in writing from them and then report it to police.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Fraud:

  • Always cover your PIN when using debit or credit cards.
  • Never give out your PIN.
  • Avoid giving out personal information over the phone or to businesses you haven't researched.
  • Be careful when buying and selling items online through website or news ads. Just because it's posted on a reputable source, doesn't mean it's not a scam.
  • Check your monthly bank statements regularly to make sure all transactions are authorized.
  • Get a credit check once a year.

Common Scams

The following types of scams often occur through phone calls, mail or email:

Emergency Scams

Con artists pretend to work for governments or financial institutions. They request that you pay a bill immediately. The con artist then asks for personal or banking information which will allow the person access your money.

In one scam the con artists phones you and says they work for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or from the Immigration Department and demand you pay immediately or you will go to jail or get deported.

Con artists will appeal to your emotions and demand immediate action, affecting your ability to use logic or ask questions.

In one example an upset person calls you stating they are a family member and they may use the person's name and claim they need money to be bailed out immediately. A second person will take the phone, claiming to be an officer or lawyer who will give you instructions on how to wire the money.

Canada Revenue Agency Fraud Scam 

Lottery and Prize Scams

You will receive a random call, letter or email telling you that you've won a prize. Once you follow up, you will be prompted to pay a service fee or tax to claim the prize. You don't pay taxes on lottery winnings, and no legitimate contest requires you to pay money to claim a prize.

Advance Fee Scams

This type of scam can take on many forms. The con artist will request a fee in advance for a service, product and/or opportunity (ex., pay before signing up for prize). Try to ensure the offer is legitimate; obtain references, a detailed legal contract and/or an agreed upon payment plan.

Taxi Cab / Pizza Delivery Scam

How does the taxi/pizza delivery fraud scam work?

In this scam, there are often two scammers involved: one who poses as the driver of the fake taxi, while the other pretends to be a passenger who approaches the victim asking for help. This usually takes place in a parking lot of a plaza or mall. This is also the same approach with a pizza delivery scam.

The fake passenger/pizza purchaser approaches the potential victim claiming the taxi driver/pizza delivery driver will not accept cash as payment for a fare/pizza and asks if the victim can use their own debit card or credit card to pay the fare/pizza, with the fraudster offering to pay them in cash.

The victim then inserts their card into a modified point of sale (POS) terminal to pay the fare/pizza, and the machine records the PIN. The fake passenger then gives the victim cash to cover the fare/pizza. Meanwhile, the fake driver swaps the victim's real debit card or credit card for a fake one, which is then returned to the victim. The scammers then use the stolen debit card or credit card and PIN to withdraw funds from the victim's account.

How to protect yourself

  • Never hand your card over or disclose your PIN to anyone else.
  • If you do hand over your card, ensure that the card that is returned to you is your card.
  • If you are asked to insert or tap your card, beware of fake wireless point of sale terminals or those not connected to the internet. If something seems strange, don’t go through with the transaction.
  • If you believe you've been a victim of the taxi/pizza delivery fraud scam or any other type of financial fraud, contact your financial institution immediately, report the incident to your local police.

Travel Agent Fraud

Booking a vacation is both an exciting and stressful time. Many of us turn to a travel agent in order to book the perfect vacation. Unfortunately there have been cases where people have been scammed by someone who they believe is a legitimate travel agent.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Fraud:

  • Use a Travel Agent or Agency that has been used in the past by people you trust, do not solely rely on online reviews.
  • Ensure the Travel Agency and Travel Agent is registered with Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).
  • When it comes time to pay, consider using a credit card instead of cash or a personal cheque.
  • Once you receive the itinerary it is a good idea to verify the booking with the airline/hotel.

If you are a victim of a fraud, please attend your nearest Peel Regional Police Division/Community station to file a Fraud Report. Reports are not taken over the phone. 

How to Report Fraud:

If you are a victim of a fraud, please attend your nearest Peel Regional Police Division/Community station to file a Fraud Report. Reports are not taken over the phone. 

For any inquires about frauds/trends/scams, please contact the non-emergency line Fraud Bureau.

More Resources

Cyber Crime, Computer and Internet Safety – provides information regarding online frauds and crimes.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – provides more advice on scams and frauds and current types of frauds.

Competition Bureau's Information Centre – provides information regarding laws businesses must follow.

Office of Consumer Affairs – provides information about common scams that occur in your own province or territory.

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