Competition Scams – Avoid becoming a victim
Every year, individuals loose thousands of money due to scammers bombarding them with online mail frauds and social media scams. It is crucial for individuals to increase their awareness on the types of scams that are out there in order to avoid becoming a victim.
The little black book of scams: your guide to protection against fraud, written by The Industry of Canada, Competition Bureau Canada states that “scammers target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. Fake lotteries, income frauds, get-rich-quick schemes and miracle health cures are some of the favoured means of separating the unwary from their money”.
Prevention is the best defence when it comes to online scams. If you know what to look out for then you can bypass debt and frustration.
- Online scams, e-mails and letters come from all over – random prizes and competitions that you have never even entered. These letters and e-mails will state that you can collect your prize at a fee. Alternatively, online scammers try to lure you into clicking a link that may be a virus putting your computer or device at risk.
- Another popular scheme is when they state that you have won a discount on the latest ‘miracle’ cream. Do not be fooled by this. Many scams try to get you to input your personal details or bank information. Remember that you should never have to pay money in order to claim a prize.
- If you do enter a competition, always remember to read the small print as there may be additional fees that need to be paid.
Avoid becoming a victim
- If you did not enter the competition, delete the mail
- If you are unsure about whether an e-mail is legit or not, take it up with the company. For example; if you receive a mail from Flight Centre stating that you have won a trip to Paris for two, phone the Flight Canter company and ask whether it is legit or not.
- As stated previously, never pay money in order to claim a prize
- Trust your gut. If you have a feeling that you are being scammed then you are probably right
The Industry Canada, Competition Bureau Canada draws attention to four elements that you need to consider when you are e-mailed or come across a letter stating that you have won a competition.
Never pay a fee in order to claim winnings
Never give out personal information or banking details to people that you do not know
Read the terms and conditions of any competition very carefully in order to see if there are any hidden rates or costs
Did I enter this competition? How reliable is the source?