By Chris Freimond
Managing Editor, Senior Writer
Fraud, it seems, has been part of life forever. There always have been and always will be con artists trying to rip us off in one way or another. The best defence is vigilance, but with most of us now online for a big chunk of our day, using passwords to access a whole of range of private and business information, even vigilance is sometimes not enough to protect us.
The Fraud Prevention special report I wrote earlier this year (Globe and Mail March 18, 2014) was another reminder of how potentially vulnerable we are, but it was also a call to action – there are ways to cut down on the risks of fraud in general and online fraud in particular. We simply need to be fraud aware and know when and how to help protect ourselves from the risks and what steps to take if we fall victim.
I believe we also need to be grateful to the many organizations that are taking fraud seriously and doing all they can to prevent it and track down and prosecute offenders.
In Canada those organizations include the Competition Bureau that has promoted Fraud Prevention Month each March for the past 10 years, and devotes a significant part of its resources to fraud prevention. Thanks to them and other organizations like the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) we have access to information about financial products and services that improve our financial knowledge and confidence in managing our personal finances.
What really struck a chord with me was a comment by FCAC commissioner Lucie Tedesco who said in many cases, the victims of fraud are too embarrassed to tell anyone that they’ve been scammed. But, as she pointed out, recognizing the red flags, reporting them to the proper authorities and ultimately stopping fraud can save us, our families and our friends from it happening again.