Fraud series: 6 surprising high tech scams

Think you're well equipped to protect against financial scams? Think again.

Think you're well equipped to protect against financial scams? Think again. Here are 6 scenarios that may surprise you. Published last year, these are at the very top of the list for criminals because they are new, leverage technology and are easy to dismantle for a quick getaway:

  • Prizes via text
    If you receive unexpected instructions via text message to follow a link to get a valuable prize or to enter "STOP" or "NO" to avoid further messages, which one do you choose? How about neither? Clicking the link will steal your personal information and may infect your device, while sending a STOP message will verify that you're there and you can be targeted again in the future.
  • Invoices in the mail
    Admin staff must be aware of what bills and accounts are outstanding, know the supplier/vendor list and follow a procedure that ensures authorization is required before any payments are put through the system. If such checks and balances are not in place the fraud may be difficult to contain, control and anticipate.
  • Fake compliant emails
    Emails pretending to report a complaint against you are impossible to resist. Designed to shock you into responding before thinking, these will claim that a terrible statement has been made and you've been identified as a perpetrator of an injustice. The only injustice will occur if you click the message or otherwise respond to the scammers.
  • Urgent call about your computer
    Is your computer sending malicious traffic out to the Interwebs? So is everyone else's. That's not a reason to give in to the pressure of a stranger trying to get you to click on a link or modify your computer. Don't worry, Microsoft is not calling to help you out, it's just one person in a large, overseas call centre trying to make a living by defrauding you. Hang up.
  • Door-to-door pressure
    That urgent furnace repair or driveway sealing service may very well be a fraud. Close the door and warn your neighbours or notify the RCMP. The high pressure sales tactics used by these fraudulent dealers are designed to make you uncomfortable, but reward you with peace of mind if you make an impulsive decision to pay money. Resist the urge. Accept the discomfort.
  • Scumbag alert
    Met someone online and (s)he's already professing love for you? Found a buyer for your car but he's stuck on an oil rig and has to send his 'associate' to bring you a cheque and take away the car? You're out of luck. The creepy first one is likely a fraudster building a relationship that will net him/her some real cash. The second one is nothing but a troll looking to take away your car and give you a cheque that's destined to bounce. Hang up.
Just like affinity scams and advertising trolls, the above tips are just the tip of an iceberg that is showing no signs of melting away.   

About the Author

Claudiu Popa