West Parry Sound OPP is reminding area residents that March is ‘Fraud Awareness Month’ and to be mindful of continuing income tax scams plaguing the region.

Police say given the time of year, people need to be vigilant and to expect fraudsters to call and claim to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

The CRA does not send people emails or call saying you owe the agency money and then threaten you.

However, that is what con artists do. They put fear into you, and they say the police will come to arrest you if you don’t pay your taxes.

Police insist that just won’t happen but add that if people fall for this and other scams, then area residents can count themselves as some of the victims.

The OPP advises the best defence against fraud is education and that people need to educate themselves and family members over how frauds take place but it adds, don’t stop there.

If you hear or see stories about fraud on TV, web, or on the radio, you should talk to your neighbours to keep the awareness level high.

A good place to start the education process is by going online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre which lists the various types of frauds that are out there and how to avoid becoming a victim.

West Parry Sound OPP offers three tips to consider to help avoid being defrauded.

  1. Always check your credit card statement to make sure all the charges are yours and not from someone who accessed your card illegally and bought something using your money. If you dispute a charge within a month or two of getting your statement, the credit card company will reimburse you.
  2. Always be careful with popups on your email. Sometimes if you click the link in the popup, you could end up downloading a virus onto your computer. Best practice is to be certain you know who the email is from before you click.
  3. Avoid performing sensitive functions on Wi-Fi systems. This may be fine for getting news, but you should avoid doing banking on a system that provides free wi-fi because it’s just not secure. A hacker can easily get into an unsecured site and the next thing you know, you’re banking information is being stolen.

For more information on how you can protect yourself from fraudulent activities, visit the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre website or by telephone at 1‐888‐495‐8501.