Online fraudsters are taking advantage of the financial strain faced by many Canadians amid Covid-19, warn police.
Scammers are using bogus loan websites, designed to look legitimate, in an attempt to extort personal information at a time when many people are looking to borrow money to make ends meet, states a news release from NWT RCMP issued Tuesday.
The scam is on the radar of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which recently issued a warning.
The agency says fraudsters are using phony loan applications to gather victims’ personal information in an effort to defraud cash and steal identities, say RCMP.
“Once quickly approved, the fraudsters will request a fee to secure the loan. The victim never receives any money,” state police.
Here’s how to protect yourself from the online scam:
- Never send money upfront. Most jurisdictions have made it illegal for loan companies to request upfront fees before a loan is received.
- Beware “guaranteed loans:’ if they’re offering it, despite bad credit or no credit at all, think twice.
- Look for red flags like “instant approval” offers.
- Reach out to consumer protection agencies or financial regulators to ensure the company is a legitimate lender.
- Is the loaner requesting payment via email transfers, money service businesses or prepaid credit cards? If so, end all contact.
If you think you’ve fallen victim to fraud or a fraud attempt, report the incident to your local RCMP detachment and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
For more information on how to protect yourself against scams and fraud, click here: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca