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Surviving the scores of scams

Doesn’t there seem to be an inordinate number of scams out there?
Scam, credit card - Getty images
Scams can be a real source of frustration.

It has been a fantastic start to 2023.

We have enjoyed great weather with very few storms. Local playoff hockey has begun, and the days are getting longer. Life has been good, and spring is right around the corner.

But this year there is one thing that has been really bothering me. Doesn’t there seem to be an inordinate number of scams out there? I’m certain I’m not the only one. Either by text, email or phone. It just never ends.

In no particular order, here is a sampling of what I have received in the past couple of weeks. I am sure many of you can relate.

By text: Your shipment from Canada Post is on hold. To reschedule a delivery, see  XXXXX. If you no longer wish to receive SMS updates, please reply.

By phone: An unknown number from Amazon; your parcel awaits.

By email: From Canada Revenue Agency: An e-transfer of C$2,860 was sent to you. Select your financial institution, press the black box. This refund expires on April 16. 

By Text: CA Recovery has authorized a $378 refund. Reply A to deposit; reply C to cancel. Thank-you.

By Email: From Ryan. Here are your subscription payment details from Geek Squad. Your subscription will renew today for $349. If this is not your charge, please phone our customer care department to reverse the transaction.

Last week I received a legitimate text from a friend.

“Hi Gord, I’m going to send you a friend request for Facebook. I was hacked in the middle of January and between my son and I, we screwed up and managed to get my account disabled and now I can’t get it back. So, I gave up and I’ve started a new account under my first name and middle name. So, if you see a request, it’s legit.”

I replied, “Request accepted and thanks for letting me know. What a nightmare!”

Said my friend, “Yep, it has been. More than you know!”

I recently upgraded my phone. It is a beautiful device, takes awesome pictures and seamlessly connects to my same name computer. Just before Christmas, the phone started prompting me to use SIRI, the voice command control app.

I took the bait and was somehow linked to a site where they needed my credit card information. I gave it out, and within seconds Visa had flagged it and asked me if I wanted a certain $55 transaction to go through. It was to some exotic dance studio in New York City.

Thankfully, Visa flagged it, reversed the charge, and sent me a new card. Amazingly, I was smart enough to use my secondary card. Unfortunately, I had to be bothered changing credit card numbers on other pre-authorized transactions.

Scams have been around for centuries. Bernie Madoff is a famous swindler. There was a recent cryptocurrency crash. Pyramid schemes come and go all the time. People just never seem to learn.

It is hard to remain diligent, but I can offer you some common-sense advice for your phones, emails and computers.

•If it is too good to be true, it is certainly a scam or a fraud.

•Double check to make sure the offer or request is legitimate.

•Triple check before you click onto a link.

•Quadruple check before providing your credit card number.

Always have two credit cards in your possession in case one becomes disabled. 

It is important that you remain vigilant in this digital world. I hope this helps you along.   


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