Monday, 25 May 2015

Beware. People are Phishing!!!

You may have guessed I’m not talking about the leisure activity some people enjoy with boats, rods and reels, lures and depending on who you talk to... hours of boring waiting.  I’m talking about using electronic means to trick you into giving up confidential information.  Most often this is done via emails, fraudulent websites or texts to get your financial or personal information.

Why the sudden interest?  Both my wife and I received texts such as this one within the last week.  We didn't click on the link but some people would see the link and automatically click on it.  This is what the sender is hoping for... a quick reaction before you have a chance to think it through.  The most important thing to remember is a legitimate business will never send you electronic communication asking you to give personal information.   If in doubt about the communication, go to the main website of the business and contact them using one of the "Contact Us" methods listed.

I once did this when I had a message on my voice mail about possible fraudulent charges on my credit card and they left a number to call their fraud department.  Instead of calling this number, I  called the main phone number for the company and asked to be transferred to the fraud department.  Turns out it was a legitimate call and my wife had made a larger than average number of purchases at multiple stores and this triggered their systems to flag her transactions.   I have to admit I'm a little paranoid about credit card purchases every since that time someone bought a $6000 watch in Boston without me being there.  The funny thing is the credit card company didn't flag that one but picked up my wife's shopping spree.  No system is perfect.

This is only the start of what could be a larger discussion on fraud and identity theft so I'll stop here. For further reading,  you could start with the RCMP, Canadian Bankers Association or the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada websites.

A couple of things before I sign-off.  Prior to my last posting, I was just over 6000 views but am now quickly approaching 7000 views.  Thank you for your vote of confidence that I’m writing about things you are interested in.  A big thank you also to Rob Carrick, one of my favourite financial literacy writers, for including me on one of his webpages.

I have a number of possible topics for my next posting.  I'd appreciate to hear your opinion by taking this quick survey.  Thanks in advance.

James Whelan

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