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Did you know that the average amount of time it takes for the first victim to fall for a newly launched phishing scam is 82 seconds?

Scams try to trigger an immediate response by increasing stress and urgency, affecting how your brain processes information. Pausing, even if it is just for a minute, will allow your mind to better process the situation.

There are many different scams types, from those that offer an unexpected financial windfall to buyer-seller fraud to threats and extortion.

Familiarizing yourself with common scams and learning to spot the warning signs are a start to avoid being the victim of a scam.

There are several other ways you can help protect yourself from scammers and identity theft, including:

  • Protect your identity. Only give out your details and information where it is necessary.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or online account details through an email or give them out over the phone.
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult to guess and include upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, or punctuation.
  • Never reply to a spam email, even to unsubscribe.
  • Get a shredder and use it! Get into the habit of shredding things before throwing them out, especially things like expired credit cards, utility bills, cellphone bills, paycheque stubs, old boarding passes, ATM receipts and travel itineraries.
  • Have a password-protected lock on your mobile device and avoid checking your bank accounts or online shopping on a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Choose a solid PIN. Avoid PINs that are derived from your personal information and change up your PIN occasionally.
  • Don’t overshare on social media, and make sure you’re not accidentally broadcasting sensitive information.
  • Get in the habit of visiting websites directly instead of following links contained in emails.
  • To verify a company identity, use a means outside of the original communication, like doing a different web search of returning a call through a publicly listed number.
  • Beware of website spoofing. A fake or spoofed website is a website that looks identical to your credit union website. The goal is to redirect your members to the phony website to collect personal login identification credentials.
  • Verify a hyperlink without clicking by hovering your mouse over it. Carefully check if it is accurate.
  • Update your antivirus software on all devices.

YOU play a crucial role, as arming yourself with the information you need to fight fraud will keep yourself, your family and your money safe.

For more information on how to spot scams, visit our Fraud Prevention home page.

If you become the victim of a scam, contact your Financial institution immediately. If possible, you should document the attempt with screenshots or recordings. Alert any companies or individuals the scam is attempting to impersonate and tell friends and family to look out for similar scam attempts.