How can I protect myself from scams and other frauds?

Scammers and other fraudsters may use a range of techniques to try to get your information, money and other assets.  Stay aware of techniques that fraudsters may use and take simple steps to help prevent being taken advantage of.

This is not an exhaustive list of red flags and the suggestions below do not guarantee protection scams or suffering losses from them.

Some Common Red Flags

  • High-Pressure Sales or Emotional Please: Fraudsters often use high-pressure sales tactics or urgent requests that are designed to play on your emotions.  Do not be pressured or intimidated into sharing information, buying something, or sending money.  Here are some keywords/phrases to look out for that are indicators of fraud:
      • “This is urgent.”
      • “Offer expires soon, we need your card information to reserve your spot.” 
      • “We need money fast, and you will be rewarded.”
      • “Don’t worry, it is perfectly safe to send money.”
      • “You need to keep this a secret.”
  • Unsolicited Requests for Personal Information: Beware of unsolicited calls, emails, texts, or other messages where the caller asks you for personal information such as your name, address, birthdate, social insurance number, financial information, telephone number, email, etc.  
      • Emails and text messages from scammers often contain spelling and formatting errors, links that are designed to look similar to reputable websites/companies.
      • Be wary of clicking on any attachments or links, especially if you were not expecting to receive them.
  • Being Asked to Pay in Unusual Methods: Fraudsters will often ask you to pay them in methods that seem unusual for the circumstances, such as with gift cards, cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin), and prepaid credit cards.
  • Look Out for Spoofing: Fraudsters use spoofing to mislead their victims into thinking they are communicating with legitimate people or organizations.
      • Caller ID Spoofing: Fraudsters can manipulate call displays by call or text message so that the display shows a legitimate phone number, such as the ones for financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, government agencies, and others.
      • Email Spoofing: Fraudsters can manipulate the sender email in order to make you believe it is from a legitimate source, such as your financial institution.
      • Website Spoofing: Fraudsters will sometimes create fraudulent websites, designed to look legitimate and/or copy legitimate websites. Such fake websites may look like those for financial institutions, companies offering employment, investment companies, or government bodies.  Often, similar domain/website URLs are used.
  • Look Out for Phishing: Phishing is when a fraudster pretends to be a legitimate person or organization and gets sensitive information from their victim.  They may attempt to “phish” a victim by:
      • Sending a hyperlink which takes them to a website that gathers their personal details.
      • Sending them a text message that asks for personal or financial information and/or contains a hyperlink (see above).
      • Calling them on the telephone to ask for personal or financial information.
      • Emailing them to ask for personal or financial information, and/or contain hyperlinks or attachments that are designed to collect such information..
      • Sending QR codes which take them to websites designed to collect personal or financial information.
  • Upfront Fees: Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services, or prizes.  Keep in mind the following:
      • In Canada, it’s illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee before they give you a loan.
      • There is no such thing as prize fees or prize taxes in Canada - if you win a prize, it is free.

Some Ways to Protect Yourself:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”: If a telemarketer or other unknown person is using high-pressure sales tactics, intimidation, or urgent pleas that play on your emotions - don’t be afraid to say no and end the conversation.  
  2. Protect Your Account:
      • Create a strong password and do not share it or write it down
      • Create a strong PIN and do not share it or write it down
      • Enable multi-factor authentication, where possible
      • Only log into your accounts from wifi providers that you trust
      • Only log into your accounts from your own mobile phone, or one that you trust
      • If biometric authentication is enabled, any face or fingerprint stored on your device will be able to sign in to your Tims Financial profile. Do not enable this feature if any face or fingerprint other than your own is stored on your device.
      • Don’t reveal your personal information over social media.
  3. Do Your Research: Always verify that the person or organization that you are dealing with is legitimate.  For example, if you didn’t initiate the call, you likely don’t know who you are talking to - don’t assume call displays and sender emails are accurate or legitimate.  Some ways that you can do your research:
      • Verify any calls claiming to be from Tims Financial by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card.
      • Search online for contact information for the person or company that is supposedly contacting you and use that online information to call them back.
      • Verify information about Canadian charities using Canada Revenue Agency’s resources.
      • Verify information about collection agencies with the appropriate provincial agency that oversees them.
      • Watch out for fake or deceptive advertisements and emails.
  4. Look Out for Transactions You Don’t Recognize: Stay up to date with your account activity by reviewing it periodically through the Tims Financial app and the statements you receive.  Look out for transactions that you do not recognize.

Keep in mind, Tims Financial will never ask you to:

  • Provide personal banking information such as your credit card number, PIN, and account passwords.
  • Request money through cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin), gift cards, e-transfer, wire transfer, and cash. 
  • Urgently purchase/spend money on a website.

Here is an example of what a scam could look like:

You receive an unexpected email at 3:40AM saying you just won a luxury car and they require shipping costs to be covered. This is very unlikely to be true.

If you’re ever unsure about a phone call, end the conversation. If you're unsure about an email, do not respond. Contact your financial institution, and confirm if it was actually them contacting you. Scam emails will often look different from the real ones you receive from your financial institution or financial services brand.

When in doubt, please reach out to Tims Financial Customer Support at 1-855-505-1964

For more information on scams and fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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