Spot the warning signs of fraud before it’s too late

March is Fraud Prevention Month, a time to remind ourselves that online fraud happens every day to thousands of people around the world, regardless of education or background. There are a few steps we suggest taking when an offer or opportunity comes along that might sound enticing, or even too good to be true.

  1. Slow Down

Fraudsters like to have an artificial sense of urgency to prevent you from thinking things through. When presented with an enticing offer, stop and think about it. Give yourself time. If the fraudster says it is only available now, chances are it is not a real offer.

  1. Apply the ‘Too Good to be True’ Test

Listen to your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the offer at hand is limited, too cheap, or only available now, chances are it’s too good to be true.

  1. Question Everything

Who is the person who contacted you? Do you know them? Is their request unsolicited? Why did they approach you? What are the risks? More importantly, in person, would you trust this person to watch your wallet, purse or phone while you leave the room?

  1. There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Many scams play on the appeal of quick, easy money. Don’t let that distract you from making a reasonable, informed, cautious decision.

  1. You are Not a Cashier

If someone sends you money and then says you need to send some of it back to them — for any reason— it’s a scam. This is often seen during private online purchases where parties are paying each other via e-transfer or PayPal. The money they send is often fake, or perhaps a real transfer that’ll eventually bounce, but the money you’d have sent back to them was real.

  1. Get a Second Opinion

If you’re being asked to do something — wiring someone money or sending bitcoin, for example — and you feel uneasy about it, bounce the idea off someone else. Contact a trusted friend, a colleague or someone at your credit union and run it past them. Do they think it’s a good idea?


You work hard for your money. Don't let a fraudster get a hold of your funds. Protect yourself, and protect your earnings.

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