Safety First: Phone Scams and Fraud
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Use of the telephone for the sale of a wide range of services or products can be an effective, legitimate marketing tool for any number of Canadian businesses. However, the legitimacy of well-known companies has provided an excellent opportunity for criminals.
Criminals use the same techniques as legitimate companies, but hide behind the anonymity of the telephone and attempt to defraud thousands and thousands of Canadians each year.
The RCMP is involved in a National Task Force known as Project Phonebusters that was established to combat telemarketing fraud. A few basic suggestions from Project Phonebusters should help ensure that you do not fall victim to the tactics of fraudulent telemarketers:
- DO NOT believe that everyone calling with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity is trustworthy, especially if you do not know the caller or their company.
- DO NOT invest or purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the investment, product, service, and the company.
- DO NOT be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
- DO NOT be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low cost purchase.
- DO NOT be pressured to send money to take advantage of a "special offer or deal."
- DO NOT be hurried into sending money to claim a prize that is available for only a "few hours".
- DO NOT disclose information about your finances, bank accounts or credit cards (not even the credit card expiry date).
- DO NOT be afraid to hang-up the phone.
- DO contact Project Phonebusters if you are contacted by someone who promises you great prizes, but you are required to send money in advance for shipping, handling, taxes, etc.
- DO contact Project Phonebusters if you are contacted by someone who says that you have won a prize, but you have to purchase a product to qualify.