(ORILLIA, ON) – Criminals use phishing nets to steal your personal information and your identity according to members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch.
Phishing is any e-mail falsely claiming to be from an established, legitimate organization such as a financial institution, business or government agency. The e-mail may request or direct the consumer to visit a certain website to update or provide personal and/or financial information and passwords. It is really a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing identity theft and fraud.
In 2015, phishing scams were used by criminals to commit identity theft and other crimes 1,702 times, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. During that period, 510 Ontario victims – often seniors – were swindled out of more than $93,000. Aware that 95 per cent of victims do not report the crime, police continue to encourage everyone to be wary of email scams and to ensure a complaint is filed for further investigation.
Police say you can avoid becoming caught in a phishing net by taking some simple steps:
- Do not reply to any e-mail or text messages that requests your personal information;
- Look for misspelled words;
- Protect your computer with anti-virus software, spyware filters, e-mail filters and firewall programs;
- Protect your passwords and change them frequently; and,
- Contact the financial institution immediately and report your suspicions.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of phishing, contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or toll-free by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.
Additionally, if you have information concerning fraud operations or scam activity in Canada, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm
“Recognize, Reject and Report Fraud”
“Criminals prey on some of society’s most vulnerable people and our business systems that are built on trust. To prevent further harm and victimization, we all need to do what we can to make the unsuspecting public aware of the damaging financial impacts phishing and identity theft can have on victims.”
– A/Deputy Commissioner Don BELL,
OPP Investigations and Organized Crime Command
“‘Phishing’ – and its text and social media counterparts ‘smishing’ and ‘vishing’ – are ways for criminals to gather your personal information. Knowledge is power. Never give out your personal information over the phone, on the internet or through social media.”
– Detective Insp. Mike BICKERTON, Director – OPP Anti-Rackets Branch
“SMiShing” is a security attack in which the user is tricked into downloading a Trojan horse, virus or other malware onto their cellular phone or other mobile device. SMiShing is short for “SMS phishing.”
“Vishing” is the act of using the telephone in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The scammer usually pretends to be a legitimate business, and fools the victim into thinking he or she will profit.
OPP VIDEO – Phishing Scams (English) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiBqoJmUIsA
OPP VIDEO – Phishing Scams (French)
The OPP and its Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre partners – the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau of Canada –, have joined police services across the country to help prevent all Canadians from becoming victims of fraud. Join the ongoing conversation on your social media channels to prevent further harm and victimization by using the hashtags #FPM2016 #DontBeAVictim and #OPPtips.