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O Canada! Shopping Fraud Abroad a Warning for U.S. All

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By Admin on December 24, 2009 10:17 AM

Ahhh, the last minute holiday bustle. If you are hustling and bustling to purchase those last second gifts, especially online, use caution. According to our friends at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, rushed online holiday shopping can lead to increased fraud. Although the following statistics are from Canadian sources, fraud knows no boarders, so the lesson still applies.

Last year, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center reported that citizens of our neighbor to the north were cheated out of $9.5 million, through credit card fraud, cloned debit cards and cash scams. A further 11,000 were the victims of identity theft. Calls to the Fraud Center unsurprisingly spike in January, as people discover problems linked to holiday purchases.

Needless to say, online shopping is a prime target for fraud since customers send money and credit card information to people and business they do not necessarily know. Captain Louis Robertson, who heads criminal intelligence at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, reminds folks to do a little research before entrusting your money to a site you are unfamiliar with. "You should be a little more vigilant, a little bit more careful," Robertson says.

Here are a few reminders from our Canadian friends on how to avoid being the victim of some of Santa's more criminally minded helpers:

  • Never give out personal information (SSN, driver's license, passport numbers) online.
  • Don't let your card out of your sight in a store: follow your credit card to the counter and watch the transaction take place.
  • Always protect your debit card PIN.
  • Monitor your bank statements, and match receipts against transactions.
  • Do your online research — only shop with companies you know and trust.
  • Contact financial institutions and/or credit card companies immediately if you believe you've been a victim of fraud.

Have a joy-ful and fraud-less Holiday Season!

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