Getty Images Image by: Getty Images
1. You don't remember the contest. "You can't win a contest you didn't enter," points out Const. Brian Montague, spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.
2. They threaten you. Legitimate businesses and government agencies don't do that, says Daniel Williams, fraud specialist with the RCMP Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
3. You're asked for cash to claim a prize. "There's nothing you can win that will require you to pay money up front," says Const. Montague.
4. They want your financial information. Don't give your personal, banking or credit-card information over the phone, on the computer or in person unless you know the company or charity well. "And never, ever give out your social insurance number," Const. Montague advises. It's the key to obtaining banking information, and it can lead to financial ruin.
5. They stress speed and secrecy. "They want you to decide solely on the basis of what they're telling or showing you, says Williams. "They know if you have time to think it through, you're going to see through it."
6. They mention Western Union or MoneyGram. "Those services are only meant to be used to send money from person to person— a friend or a family member," says Williams.
Take note! Check out these five current scams to avoid.
This story was originally part of "Don't Get Fleeced" in the January 2016 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!