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Posted October 25 2016
Written by Chantal Grégoire

Fishing has Turned Virtual With a New Spelling: Phishing

This is a fact: businesses face different risks and challenges regarding the market they evolve in. Believe it or not, office workers also face risky situations every day. What could now be considered as threats in the workspace? Your phone and your email box. Beware, don’t let your day-to-day tools become a menace.

Here’s a true story. A colleague receives a call on a Tuesday afternoon from Canada Revenue. According to the person calling, she has a $5,000 debt to settle right away. If she can’t pay, she needs to hire a lawyer. The person over the phone gives her a number to call back in an hour. She hangs up and turns white. Fortunately enough, she tells her colleagues what the phone call was all about. She never called back and neither did they…

Sounds crazy? Not so. This happens every day, all over the world. People get their hard earned money or identity robbed by scammers who stop at nothing. Nowadays, thieves don’t hit on banks, but rather hide behind their phone or computer to steal in many different ways. Following are signs that you should look for to make sure you don’t become a victim of these crimes.

Email warning signs:

- Unsolicited emails prompting you to click on an attachment or a link;
- Unsolicited emails requesting personal information;
- Unsolicited emails presenting an urgent situation;
- Misspelled words and formatting errors;
- Impersonalized email;
- Unsolicited email for pre-approved loans at lower rate than market or investment at higher rate than market.

Even when it all looks perfect, you should still confirm legitimacy.

Phone call warning signs:

- The call display indicates a strange phone number, or a number that looks like your own phone number;
- Unsolicited computer repair (because your computer is slow);
- Threat to your computer (malware or spyware);
- Unsolicited vacation or travel offer (who hasn’t been receiving phone calls because they have won a free cruise?);
- Unclaimed inheritance from a family member you’ve never heard about.

Again, even when it all sounds legit, NEVER give personal information over the phone.

Fiscal authorities and financial institutions will never contact you requesting that you confirm personal information. They already have everything they need on file.

If you have to remember one thing from this is not to act on impulse on unsolicited emails or phone calls. If there really is a good deal, it will be valid long enough for you to check the validity of the offer / request.

If you do get a call or an email like this, call your financial institution that’s relevant to the topic and/or the Credit Bureau. Advise so that they can investigate and possibly save others from being a victim of fraud.

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