The RCMP would like to remind all of you about the top five scams currently in play around the world. Mass-marketing frauds use the internet, email, mass mailings, personal phone calls, texting, television, radio, and all forms of social networking to rip you off. The RCMP has an excellent, highly detailed anti-fraud resource site, please make use of it to protect yourselves and your family.
1. Advance Fee Fraud. This is the scam that victimized John. The most common variation is the prize pitch, or lottery scam. You are told you have won a large sum of money or a big ticket item but to collect you must pay fees or taxes in advance. You will either never hear from the organization again or receive more and more requests for money.
The criminals sometimes include a cheque to cover “taxes.” The victim is told to wire the “tax” amount to the criminals and take the rest for themselves. Just like in the Overpayment Scam, the wire transfer will leave the victim’s account before the cheque is returned as counterfeit.
In another variation of the Advance Fee fraud, criminals exploit the economic crisis by offering guaranteed loans in spite of your bad credit-rating, but with an up-front fee for processing costs.
Solution: If you have won a prize in Canada there are no fees or taxes to be paid. If you have doubts about any organization, contact the Better Business Bureau for further information.
2. The Grandparent or Family Emergency Scam generally targets seniors. Fraudsters will call the potential victim and claim to be a grandchild or other close family member and will ask for money to help with a serious situation. Common themes have been that the grandchild has been in an accident or arrested and the money is needed for hospital bills or bail. The victim is told not to tell other family members as the “grandchild” is embarrassed or doesn’t want to alarm anyone else in the family.
A variation of this scam involves the misuse of hijacked email accounts, where the fraudster sends an email claiming to be the email account holder to everyone on the compromised contact list. The email will claim that the sender has been robbed while traveling abroad and needs money to get home or for living expenses.
Solution: Before you send money anywhere, check the facts. A quick call to other family members can quickly confirm or disprove the information provided by the fraudster.
3. Overpayment Fraud, also known as Cash Back Fraud, usually starts when you advertise something for sale- often on a free online classified site. The criminal sends you a cheque, money order or bank draft. The sum is much larger than your asking price, and you are asked to wire transfer the difference. Since cheques take longer to clear than electronic bank transfers, the money leaves your account before the cheque is confirmed as counterfeit or forged. Lawyers, realtors, gift shops, restaurants, and especially landlords are targets.
Solution: Don’t wire money to strangers. Always be wary of buyers offering more than your asking price.
4. The Nigerian/West-African Scam has been around for years:
* You receive an “urgent” business proposal “in strictest confidence” from a Nigerian/West-African civil servant /businessman.
* The sender has come into possession of profit from real estate, oil products, over-invoiced contracts, cargo shipments, or other commodities, and needs an offshore partner to assist in transferring the money out of his or her home country.
* Since their government/business position prohibits them from opening foreign bank accounts, the senders ask you to deposit the sum, usually somewhere between $25-50 million, into your personal account, and you will receive between 15-30% of the total.
* You are told to provide your bank name and address, the name of your beneficiary and, of course, your bank account numbers.
* The criminals will ask for money to pay for shipping costs, bank fees or bribes, and may even resort to threats and intimidation.
Solution: Unsolicited letters are not to be believed. If in doubt, contact E Division RCMP Commercial Crime Section, your local Better Business Bureau, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre.
5. The Mystery Shopper Scam usually starts with an unsolicited letter containing a cheque. You are told to deposit that cheque, make a few small purchases, and wire transfer the balance to an account controlled by the fraud artist. The cheque that you deposit will be returned as counterfeit, forged or stolen and you are on the hook for the money that you wired.
A variation is the Work from Home Scam where an “international company” wants to expand but needs someone with a bank account in Canada to process its cheques and keep a small percentage for themselves. Once again, this scam relies on the lag between the time the cheque is deposited and the time that the cheque actually clears.
In all of these scams, fraudsters stress the need for confidentiality. They will tell you that your reward will be lost if you don’t keep the transaction secret. This is to keep you from discovering that you are being scammed.
The solution here is the same as with all scams and frauds. Victims are either blinded by the opportunity to make a quick buck or are too trusting. Victims often represent the most vulnerable members of society- the elderly, the lonely, the poor. Be aware, be skeptical, and do your research. Make sure you have a conversation with your loved ones, and make 2011 fraud-free.
Legal IQ, a division of IQPC, announces the 2nd Annual eDiscovery Summit Canada being held March 28-30, 2011 at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel in Toronto, ON to develop practical skills required to comply with electronic record management regulations.
With the eDiscovery rules in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta in full operation, the climate for eDiscovery in Canada is changing fast. The eDiscovery Summit Canada brings together in-house counsel, IT experts, document management, law firms, solution providers, judges and regulatory experts to demonstrate how to improve your eDiscovery processes, while saving time and money despite heightened regulatory scrutiny and onslaught of litigation.
Each year, Clearwell predicts the top trends for e-Discovery and in 2011 they examined evolving technologies and the global landscape. There are clear challenges when it comes to the cloud, social media and the global marketplace. Clearwell’s article on the top 5 trends in eDiscovery is available on the event’s website.
Discussions at the event include:
* Lessons learned from the GasTOPS v. MxI and Enbridge Pipelines Inc. v. BP Canada Energy Company cases
* Protect your intellectual property during eDiscovery
* Minimize privacy risks during eDiscovery to ensure compliance with privacy principles
* Explore how global companies are successfully implementing eDiscovery principles
* Effectively manage the burdens and cost of eDiscovery
* Address the importance of overcoming in-house politics to implement eDiscovery solutions
Tom Allman, Senior Counsel of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP and Former SVP and General Counsel of BASF Corporation commented on the event: “This is a very distinguished and comprehensive program! Very thorough, very impressive.”
Participating organizations include:
* Bell Canada
* TD Bank
* Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
* City of Toronto
* Sedona Canada
* Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program, Illinois
* Davis LLP