Don't be a Victim of Fraud

April 2012:  Fraud Alert:  Computer Repair Scam:  The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service received two calls regarding this scam occurring once again locally.  They wish to remind and alert the public about the phone scam in which callers try to elicit personal information from home computers.

It starts with a call from someone claiming to be from a “computer company” advising the person who answers the phone that their computer has errors, viruses or security breaches. When the caller has their trust, they ask the householder to go to a website and download a remote control program that will help them fix the problem.  After downloading this, the caller has remote access to the computer and begins a search for financial information. They may even request credit card details for a piece of software that will supposedly remove the ‘virus’.

If you receive one of these calls do not give out any personal information or access codes. Instead hang up and report it to police at 705-949-6300 ext. 388 - Fraud Unit.

Other Safety Tip Reminders regarding Fraudulent Telephone Calls:
• Do not give out your credit card number, your passwords or PIN over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from a legitimate company
• Do not give out credit card information by e-mail as it is not a secure method of transmission. 
• Only share your personal information with companies you know and trust. 
• Report suspicious calls to police. We will respond to these calls.  You can also contact Phone Busters at 1-888-495-8501. 
• If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.


To prevent being victimized by fraud, you can take the following steps:

1.  Make sure your computer firewall is always turned on and your operating system, applications, and antivirus software are updated regularly.

2.  Regularly back up your files, and store the copies safely.

3.  Use common sense.  Do not be quick to trust information on the Internet.

4.  Do not be greedy.  Beware of "free" offers or websites that sell products at extremely low prices.  It could be phishing bait.

5.  Beware of unsolicited emails or instant messages, especially if they contain links or ask for personal information such as verification of a password.

6.  Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess.  Change your Internet passwords periodically, and do not use the same password for different accounts.

7.  Provide your credit card or banking information only to reputable and secure websites.

8.  Make sure you type web addresses accurately, especially for financial institutions.  One spelling mistake might redirect you to a fradulent website.

9.  Use encrypted connections to transmit sensitive data, such as credit card details, and log off the website when you have finished.

10.  Review transactions on your credit card and bank statements carefully and frequently.  As soon as you spot an unfamiliar transaction, contact the company immediately.

11.  Be carefull when using unsecured wireless (Wi-Fi) connections, as thieves can steal information and redirect you to fraudulent websites.

12.  Say "no" to the question, "Remember this password?"  Trojan programs can harvest your stored passwords.


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