You’re a Winner!
Posted by Christi | Filed under Christi
If you became a victim of fraud, would you report it? This week I attended a conference where the RCMP shared some shocking statistics about fraud. I want to share with you one of the numbers that had me picking my jaw up off the floor.
In my role, I feel that I have heard about every scam in the book. That was until a few weeks ago, when I heard a story from a gentleman who was recently divorced. Heartbroken and vulnerable, a religious charity guaranteed that with his financial help, they could use the power of prayer to get his ex-wife and him back together. $80,000 in credit card debt later, the charity is still “working on it.” Only once he explained to someone else what the charity promised to do for him, did he realize how silly it sounded.
But we’ve all been there. We’ve heard that we’ve won a prize, and for a split second we are hopeful that it’s really true. You might have had your phone ring, and answered to the sound of a ship horn announcing that you’ve won a Caribbean cruise. Or you may have received a letter from a Nigerian lottery, announcing your winnings from a lottery that you don’t even recall buying a ticket for. Every once in awhile, we may even get an email from a PRINCE who has $27 million of surplus funds and needs to urgently transfer these funds to a foreign bank account – but he promises to pay 25% to the person willing to help him. We have all been tempted by one form of financial scam or another.
I could have fallen prey a few years ago too, when I was looking for a puppy. I’d found the perfect little fuzzy baby on Kijiji. I inquired and was told that there were actually a lot of inquiries, and if I really wanted this puppy I would have to pay a deposit first. Well, a few emails later, I found out that these people lived out of the country. Part of their supposed plan was to ship me the puppy from overseas somewhere, if I paid them upfront. Yeah, no thanks. Those were enough red flags for me, and I backed away quickly. However, had I just lost my furry companion of 10 years, perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps I would have overlooked the red flags because I was in a vulnerable place.
Unfortunately, scams are everywhere. The majority of us have become aware of these common scams, but there are still countless people who are victims of fraud. You may (like me) assume that seniors have the highest dollar loss due to financial scams. However, Canadian victims between the ages of 50-59 reported the highest dollar loss in 2011. These were everyday people who were just caught at a vulnerable moment.
What stood out the most from this presentation at the conference was that only 1 in 20 victims of fraud report it. That’s 5%! So this begs the question – why?
The left side of my brain tells me that people should want their money back, and fight for justice. The right side tells me that people are likely embarrassed and ashamed that they could fall for such a silly scam. Either way, it happens all the time and over sixty million dollars were lost last year, never to be recovered again.
So I’ll put this Public Service Announcement out there: If you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to your local police. You are not alone, you were not the only one scammed, and you will help others by raising awareness. Your story might also be the piece that the police are missing in order to put an end to the scam.
Have you fallen victim to a scam? Share your stories below to raise awareness and help others avoid becoming the next victim!
Until next week,
Christi Posner (@ChristiPosner)