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March is Fraud Prevention Month

Posted on March 3, 2016 by Vauxhall Advance

Nikki Jamieson
Vauxhall Advance

In March, start thinking about how you can prevent fraud.

During their regular council meeting on Feb. 16, Vauxhall councillors decided to proclaim March as the town’s official Fraud Prevention Month. Mayor Margaret Plumtree and coun. Martin Kondor, the latter having to leave mid-way, were absent.

“Fraud is everyone’s concern, whether you are a business person or an individual,” said Plumtree. “If you are a business person, you don’t want your employees doing it, you don’t want your customers doing it, that’s why no one takes (checks) anymore. Even trying to teach my daughter to lock your car, because your registration and insurance information are in your car, and if someone gets a hold of that, all of a sudden, you lose your identity.”

While March may be the official Fraud Prevention Month, be sure to take care at other times of the year as well, since fraud isn’t limited to just one month.

For instance, there’s been a recent emergence of the Revenue Canada scam, where people would get a call saying you haven’t paid your taxes, there’s a warrant out for your arrest, wire money to us ASAP, and there are countless e-mails going around posing as banks, Netflix and other websites, saying that your account was compromised and click here to change your password.

In addition, with so many papers containing personal and confidential information, if you are not careful it becomes easy for someone to access and use that information for their own purposes.

“If your documentation is taken by someone else and used, you could be liable,” said Plumtree. “And again, it’s important, so why not proclaim (Fraud Prevention Month), and get everyone thinking about it so they do lock their car doors.”

While it is important to stay vigilant, here are some tips to help protect yourself against fraud.

* Change passwords frequently, and avoid generic ones such as birthdays or addresses
* Keep an eye out for a lock symbol or ‘https’ when shopping online or signing in, for they indicate that the website is secure and your data will be encrypted.
* Shred papers with confidential information, such as receipts, before throwing them away
* Never give out personal information over the phone, e-mail or internet unless you know who they are and contacted them first
* If you get a message saying you’ve been compromised and to click here or call this number to fix, don’t. Always call the number on the back of your card or log into the website like you usually do.

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