RCMP offers fraud protection measures ahead of holidays

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The joy and magic of the holidays may be found when unwrapping moments with loved ones. With more of our special memories and day-to-day activities taking place through phone calls and online, there is also an increased risk for fraud to occur. The Alberta RCMP would like to offer some tips and reminders to keep your holiday season merry, bright and fraud-free!

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Protect your computer: Watch out for urgent-looking messages that pop up while you’re browsing online. Don’t click on them or call the number they provide. Watch out for emails with spelling and formatting errors, and be wary of clicking on any attachments or links. They may contain viruses or spyware. Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep your operating system up to date.

Protect your online accounts: Protect your online accounts by creating strong passwords with a minimum of eight characters including upper and lower case letters and at least one number and symbol. Don’t reuse the same password across online accounts.

Don’t be afraid to say no: If a caller tries to get you to buy something or to send them money right away, say no or just hang up.

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Do your research: Verify organizations are legitimate before taking any action. Check a company’s official website for contact information and call them to confirm their phone call to you was valid. If you receive a call about a family member in trouble, talk to other family members to confirm the situation.

Don’t give out personal information: If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you’re talking to. Beware of callers asking for personal information including your name, address, birth date, Social Security Number, banking information and credit card number.

Beware of upfront fees: There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it’s free. Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services or a prize. It’s illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they’ll give you a loan.

If you feel you may be a victim of fraud, contact your local police to file a report.

To learn more about fraud, visit https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/cyber-safety.

Happy holidays from the Alberta RCMP. Stay safe!

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