November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM). On the official website for FLM and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), financial literacy is defined as “having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.” This month’s theme is, “Strengthening Financial Literacy through Collaboration.”
Fraud awareness should be part of financial awareness.
Now, it’s not to say that fraud only happens to those who lack knowledge, skill and confidence, it’s that those who prey on people are quite good at what they do. So, you need to be one step ahead of them and make sure that you are educated and aware so that you can not only make informed decisions, but spot potential warning signs and red flags when you are speaking to one of these marketing fraudsters.
Here are some common types of marketing fraud occurrences and tips to avoid falling victim to scams:
Online Marketing Practices
Visa Canada warns its customers to avoid “deceptive marketing practices associated with free trial membership with a negative option feature [that] can trick consumers into a cycle of recurring payments for products or services they don’t want.”
Be wary of “free trials” because when you hand over your card number, you may be inadvertently agreeing to future monthly payments. If the consumer does not cancel before the trial is up, they will be charged for that trial period and future periods. Visa Canada warns consumers to carefully read the fine print as most crucial – and unspoken information – is buried there.
Here’s a summary of tips from Visa Canada:
- Take time to read and understand all terms and conditions
- Pay particular attention to any pre-checked boxes before you submit your payment card information for an order
- Review card statements when you get them for any unauthorized charges
- Try to resolve the situation with the merchant
- Report your experience to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Fraud Awareness for Commercial Targets
The Fraud Awareness for Commercial Targets (FACT) “campaign is an outreach and education initiative of the Competition Bureau that provides businesses and not-for-profit organizations with the facts necessary to avoid becoming victims of fraud, which costs them millions of dollars annually.”
Here are some facts on commercial fraud that we have compiled. You can read more on the official FACT website:
- Office Supply Scams
- Directory Scams
- Phoney Invoice Scams
- Foot in the Door Phenomenon
- Peer Pressure/Urgency
- Excitement / Emotional Involvement
Key Phrases Used:
- “We are calling about a pre-authorized purchase.”
- “We’ve had some delays in our shipping department and need to confirm your order.”
- “We are calling to confirm shipping details/account information.”
For more information on fraud and tips for preventing it, check out this article:
Pay-Per-Click Fraud on Entrepreneur.com.
You can read more about scheduled events on the FCAC’s official website.