News release

February is Fraud Awareness Month

SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS--February is Fraud Awareness Month


Each year, hundreds of Nova Scotians lose money to fraud. Scam artists operate in person, over the telephone, through the mail and on the Internet. Many scams are convincing, and most victims are surprised that they have been fooled.

Nova Scotians can learn how to prevent fraud during February, which is Fraud Awareness Month in Canada. The best protection against fraud, say officials at Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, is to learn to recognize the signs of a scam. For instance, you cannot win a lottery that you have not entered, and no legitimate lottery will ask you to pay taxes or other fees before giving winnings.

Experts say to be suspicious if:

  • You are told that you won a prize, but you are asked to pay a fee to be able to claim your prize;
  • A telephone salesperson is pressuring you to accept a "limited time offer" that expires if you hang up;
  • A caller asks for personal or financial information;
  • The price of a product is much less than the price for the same product on the open market.

If you suspect a potential fraud, protect yourself by walking away. At the very least, tell the person you need more information and more time to consider the offer. If they will not provide written information or if they try to hurry your decision, walk away.

"Identity theft is the fastest growing type of fraud in Canada," said Gerald Hashey, a consumer protection expert with the department. "Safeguarding your personal information has become essential. Criminals can use your identifying information to make major purchases and obtain credit, all in your name."

People who have been the victim of fraud should contact police.

Incidents of fraud should also be reported to PhoneBusters, the Canadian antifraud call centre at 1-888-495-8501. Information about PhoneBusters is available on the website at www.phonebusters.com .

For tips on how to prevent fraud visit the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/consumer/ and look under special features or contact the department at 424- 5200 (HRM) or toll-free at 1-800-670-4357.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Each year, hundreds of Nova Scotians lose money to fraud. Scam artists operate in person, over the telephone, through the mail and on the Internet. Many scams are convincing, and most victims are surprised that they have been fooled.

For tips on how to prevent fraud visit the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations website (www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/consumer/).

Information can also be obtained by calling 424-5200 in H-R-M or toll-free at 1-800-670-4357.

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Contact:

Lenore Bromley
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-2733 E-mail: