New Brunswickers lost a reported $3.5 million to fraud over the past three years. Recognizing the red flags of fraud is the best defense against these losses, according to the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB).
The message coincides with Fraud Prevention Month, during which FCNB will be sharing tools and resources to help New Brunswickers stay out of fraud’s reach. The $3.5 million is what was reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, however research indicates that only about five per cent of frauds are actually reported.
According to the centre, over the past year, extortion scams are a type of fraud that have become prevalent in New Brunswick.
“While extortion scams can each look very different, at the heart of the fraud is the attempt to compel you into sending money or personal information by scaring you and catching you off guard,” said Sara Wilson, Acting Director of Education and Communications and Spokesperson for FCNB.
FCNB reminds New Brunswickers that even though frauds and scams such as extortion scams are changing all the time, the red flags of fraud are consistent across the board. These include:
- An offer sounding too good to be true.
- A threat that if you don’t act immediately you will be arrested or prosecuted.
- A request for you to confirm personal or financial information when they have contacted you.
- A request that you to pay for something in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
More red flags of fraud and details on common scams targeting New Brunswickers are available online.
FCNB will be sharing videos on private mortgages on its social media channels and will be holding a fraud-themed contest on Fortune, its online trivia game, from March 2 to April 1. The top three players at the end of the month will receive prizes.
FCNB will also host a booth at the Greater Moncton Home Show from March 20 to 22 to share information on how to stay out of fraud’s reach.
“Asking questions and thinking seriously before making financial or purchasing decisions is the best way to protect yourself from being victimized by a con artist or from making a decision that isn’t in your best interest,” said Wilson. “We want New Brunswick consumers to have the tools to protect themselves so they can realize their financial goals.”
Fraud Prevention Month is an annual awareness initiative to help empower Canadians with the information they need to recognize, reject and report fraud. There are numerous partners across the province, and the country, who participate in the initiative including FCNB.
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Educational tools and resources are available online.