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Increased Vigilance Required as Scams and Fraud Grow More Sophisticated

BC Financial Services Authority (“BCFSA”) reminds credit union members and consumers in British Columbia to be vigilant in protecting their personal and financial information as fraudsters continually look for new and sophisticated ways to undertake scams and commit fraud.

B.C. credit unions play an important role in protecting British Columbians from fraud, and a consumer’s successful and supportive interactions with tellers at credit unions can help to hinder or even stop successful scams.

Tellers at B.C. credit unions may ask you questions about the purpose of your transactions. These questions are one of many ways to protect you by helping to identify and prevent potential frauds. However, consumers must be aware that fraudsters are now finding ways to circumvent these questions. For instance, fraudsters will often instruct their intended victims to answer questions in specific ways to avoid suspicion. It’s important to answer the questions your teller may ask you honestly – and if somebody has instructed you to answer the questions in a specific way, inform your teller.

With an increase in scams and fraud reported by the RCMP, credit union customers should know that all credit units are expected to implement and continuously strengthen internal controls and processes, such as:

  • Having robust fraud prevent technology systems and security measures in place;
  • Training employees to identify and flag suspicious activities;
  • Work closely with law enforcement agencies and government authorities to continuously share best practices; and
  • Raising awareness about scams and fraud among their members.

Reports to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre show that Canadians lost $379 million to scams and fraud in 2021. Money lost to these schemes can be difficult to trace, and unlikely to be recovered. British Columbians should not rely on the credit union internal control system, but should proactively exercise caution to help protect themselves from scams and fraud by following some of these best practices:

  • Saying no if you feel pressured or need more time to make an informed decision;
  • Doing your research. For example, fraudsters will often pose as officials from recognized organizations. Before sharing your information, check with local regulators to confirm their identity;
  • Choosing not to give out personal information to unverified contacts; and
  • Protecting your computer and online information by keeping your passwords and information private and verifying the email and text message source is who they say they are.

Members who feel uncomfortable answering questions from anyone, including trusted individuals, should contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissionaire of British Columbia.

Learn more tips to protect yourself from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. It is also important to be aware of current fraud and scams by checking the dedicated pages maintained by the BC RCMP and the Government of Canada.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, report it to the local police, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.