Email fraud and other scams
Unfortunately, the Internet gives those looking to exploit consumers or businesses new ways to defraud unsuspecting people. The same basic rules for avoiding regular scams apply to online scams. Do your research, use caution, common sense, and skepticism.
Sensitive information should never be given out. Legitimate organizations should never ask for passwords or usernames. Remote access to a device should never be given to someone you do not know. Files from unknown sources should never be opened.
Fraud by email is one of the most common ways online scammers use to contact potential victims. Sending emails to hundreds or thousands of people is simple and easy. Because of the low cost to this approach, scammers only need one unsuspecting person or business to fall for their scam to have made it worth their while.
Maintaining a spam filter is a good way to cut down, or even eliminate, the amount of fraudulent emails you receive. If you do receive an email from an unknown sender, don’t open any attachments or follow any clickable links. It could be a phishing attempt.
Remember that legitimate organizations have official ways of contacting you. Law-abiding businesses will respect Canada's anti-spam legislation and the National Do Not Call List. If you receive unexpected messages they should be treated with suspicion, as should emails from unusual addresses, emails with very bad grammar, and emails that seem like they were not written for you specifically.
Other kinds of digital media, such as social media and many apps, can also be avenues for fraud. As always, exercise caution when a stranger contacts you.
It is good to be aware of bots. Bots are programs used to automatically communicate with people. Some scammers use these to interact with potential victims on some kinds of apps and social media. If you're communicating with someone and they don't seem to respond appropriately to what you are saying it might be a bot. If a conversation seems suspicious don't respond to further communication. Never follow any sent links.