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Knowledge your best defense when it comes to scammers

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Taber Times

It seems the scammers, hackers, and thieves are becoming a little hard-up for cash and have stepped up their game in recent weeks. Telephone, email, and even door-to-door scams have been steadily increasing, with the Canada Revenue Agency scam being front and centre in southern Alberta.

How it works is when the phone rings, the call display will show it is coming from the Canada Revenue Agency. Do not even answer the call. If you do, the caller will then tell you that there is a warrant out for your arrest for owing back taxes, or there soon will be a warrant if you do not agree to pay a sizable amount of money. Hang up, take a deep breath, and realize that is somebody trying to steal your hard-earned money from you. CRA will send out numerous registered letters before making contact with you. So, if you did owe them money, you would already be aware of it.

Back in the days before the Internet and cellphones, we would take precautions in our everyday lives to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

For instance, we would not have dared to walk down a dark alley alone in a strange city. And, if we had to walk down that dark alley, we had company with us (strength in numbers) and may have even armed ourselves with a stick, just in case something did happen.

Think of an unfamiliar website, incoming email from a strange address, or unknown phone number showing up on your call display as that dark alley.

These days, the best way to arm ourselves against being scammed and losing our life savings is through knowledge. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Question those around you. Have they had something similar happen? Learn about how to protect your identity online. Change your passwords often. Don’t visit websites that may look suspicious. And, for goodness sake, be cautious of what you ‘like’ on Facebook. Not all of the little games, surveys, and novelty things are out to rip you off, but at very least, they are collecting your information for advertising purposes. Read the fine print ahead of time before agreeing to take part in any of these things. And, delete the application from your account immediately afterward if you do choose to participate.

Educate yourself on how to protect your identity and how to recognize when somebody is trying to scam you. Knowledge is your best defense in this technological era we are now living.

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