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Fraud prevention and identity theft

Technology and security risks

Telephone, e-mail, the Internet, social media, online shopping and dating sites are all ways in which we can communicate, make transactions, and access an infinite amount of information. Unfortunately, these methods are also used by crooks to commit fraud and misdeeds such as stealing personal information, money and other people’s identities.

Think security!

You’ve heard the expressions  Nothing in life is free  and It’s too good to be true! These expressions apply well to fraud prevention.

Fraudsters are very clever and quick to exploit news strories such as financial assistance programs announced by governments or tax refund periods. They also take advantage of people’s
kindness and naivety by making false promises, passing themselves off as someone in need or demanding payment of false invoices.

That’s why you should beware of any unsolicited call, email or text message offering you financial assistance or special discounts. The same goes for threats to stop a service if you don’t pay
a bill immediately. In fact, if you didn’t initiate the communication, you don’t know who you’re dealing with!

The imagination of con artists knows no bounds! Fraudsters can be found anywhere on the planet since there are no real borders in the virtual world – which makes it difficult to apply the law if you are a victim of fraud.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the unauthorised use of your personal information for criminal purposes. Crooks could use information such as your name, date of birth, social insurance number, address or credit card number to impersonate you and open a bank account, order goods online or obtain a mortgage, among other things.

The best way to protect yourself is to prevent fraud and monitor your accounts. Before giving your personal information to a company, always ask yourself if it’s really necessary. And you
don’t have to answer unsolicited phone calls or e-mails.

A few measures to protect yourself against fraud

  • Protect your computer, tablet and phone. Keep your operating system up to date and install anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software.
  •  Take the time to learn how your electronic devices work and ask for help if you need it.
  • Use a different password for each online account and do not divulge them.
  • You don’t recognize the number or name on the caller ID? Don’t answer the call.
  • Someone calls to tell you that your computer has a security problem? Hang up. Never give remote access to your computer. Even remotely, someone with malicious intent can access your personal information or infect your computer.
  • Has someone claiming to work for your financial institution left you a message? Use a telephone number on an official document such as an account statement or on the back of your ATM or credit card to call them back.
  • Do you receive a text message or e-mail from a company or an unknown number containing a link to an attractive offer or an attachment to open? Don’t reply, click on the link or open the file. Clicking on a link can open the door to malicious software and lead to the disclosure of your personal or financial information.
  • Never give out personal or banking information unless the communication is on your own initiative and to a trusted number or site.
  • A pop-up window opens on your screen? Don’t click on a link if you don’t know what it is.
  • Read the privacy and confidentiality policies when you subscribe to a newsletter, make an online purchase or visit a website. Some companies protect your data, while others share or sell it. Leave the site if you do not agree with the terms and conditions.
  • If you’re really interested in the product or service, you can do an online search to check the information first.


Free training (in French) on how to use an iPad, a tablet, the internet and email.

Do you think that you have been a victim of online fraud or theft?

Depending on the nature of the fraud, you may need to contact several organizations. Follow the advice of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre on What to do if
you’re a victim of fraud

  • Stay calm and gather all the information you can about your situation: documents, receipts, copies of e-mails and text messages.
  • Notify your financial institution and credit card company if you think criminals have accessed your information or hacked your computer.
  • Report the fraud to the two credit reporting agencies: Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Report the case to your local OPP detachment.
    • OPP Hawkesbury 613-632-2729
    • OPP Embrun 613-443-4499
    • Rockland OPP 613-446-5124
  • Report the fraud  to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) by calling 1-888-495-8501 or by following the instructions on theCAFC website.

For more information on fraud, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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