The East Hills CIBC gave members an opportunity to learn about fraud and how to protect themselves against fraudsters during the first-ever Fraud Awareness Seminar on Nov. 20.
“We as a community wanted to give back to the community,” said CIBC Financial Advisor Shallu Bajwa.
“We wanted to create awareness in the public, so people are aware of what exactly fraud is and how they can prevent it. Knowledge is power,” she said.
As of Nov. 20, the East Hills CIBC branch had seen over 40 frauds happen to clients, including
fraudulent drafts and money orders.
“There’s a lot going on, and it’s a high time that we put awareness out in the public,” Bajwa said.
Through the Fraud Awareness Seminar, Bajwa is hopeful that clients will learn preventable steps to protect themselves, such as changing passwords on accounts, protecting their identity, and learning what to share with people, and what not to share.
“Be mindful whenever you share things with your family, do not share your pins when you go out, and protect yourself,” Bajwa said.
The Fraud Awareness Seminar in an important event for clients because without education, they are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of a fraud, said CIBC Investment Consultant Anil Sharma.
“People should be very much concerned about privacy. If anybody is asking any personal information, never give it out,” Sharma said.
Adding, “We called our clients, and we really wanted to educate them. We have a very strong bond with our clients.”
It was important for CIBC member Alan Peers to attend the Fraud Awareness Seminar after a fraudster who claimed to be his grandson asked for $3,500.
“I had a person who said he was my grandson, and he had been in a car accident, and he needed $3,500,” Peers said.
Before Peers gave the fraudster the requested money, he called his grandson, and found out he was not in a collision.
“The guy tried it again using a different name about an hour later,” Peers said.
Adding, “They’re out there all the time. You don’t need to lose $100. It takes a long time to get that $100.”
The best way clients can protect themselves against fraud is by being educated and being aware, said the CIBC Community General Manager Tony Gjura.
“We are entering the time of year where fraudsters are running rampant,” Gjura said.
“The consumers are making purchases they normally wouldn’t,” he said.
People should be cautious of others fishing for personal information, and to be on the lookout.
“CIBC is never going to ask you for information, don’t share your information, and be cautious and proactive,” Gjura said.
The CIBC Branch Manager Saad Syed believes information regarding fraud prevention is too vague.
“People don’t hear about techniques in how to better protect themselves. That’s where we can help and educate a lot of people and give them ways to push back against any possible fraudsters,” Syed said.
Currently, CIBC is seeing clients fall victim to Kijiji job frauds in which the fraudster will give the client a higher amount of money and ask for the client to deposit the money into their account and then send the remaining amount back.
Along with the Kijiji job fraud, clients are also falling victim to debit card fraud where they are not protecting their pin numbers.
A new fraud happening is customers are finding cash on the floor in the shopping mall, or grocery store, and when the customer picks up the cash, the fraudster scans their wallet or purse.
“They are able to duplicate their information within that five second period where someone picks up something,” Syed said.
If anyone believes they have been involved in a fraud, they are encouraged to go to their bank, gather all the relevant information, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and report the incident to local police.
If the fraud took place online, report the incident directly on the website, place a flag on the account, and report it to the Credit Bureau, Equifax, or TransUnion.
“More than likely, we have seen the situation previously, so we will know what to do. If it’s something brand new, we will have a fraud team investigate it further,” Syed said.
“They may have seen something similar, where they can share that experience with us and help provide the steps in helping the client, and mitigating the loss as much as possible,” he said.
Adding, “We’re seeing a lot of fraud going on with our clients, and personally speaking with our staff members. It’s affecting everyone’s day to day lives.”