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A Fifth Of Canada Victimized By Fraud

This past Monday, we blogged about the fact that online scams are apparently becoming more and more prevalent. Of course, with the internet fast approaching the most popular way to receive information in the world, many consumers flock to websites before making purchases in actual store locations.

And while we have advocated before, that shoppers should browse online to make the best shopping decisions possible, we also advise that they use caution before making purchases over the internet. Today, the QMI Agency adds more reason to take precautions when considering making online purchases.

In a report released earlier today, QMI reveals that a fifth of Canadians have reported being the victims of unauthorized charges on their credit cards. According to a recent study conducted by Visa, these fraudulent charges have come as a result of accepting marketing offers either over the phone or on the internet.

Sadly, credit card fraud only seems to be a growing problem in Canada. The fact that online scams exist, obviously doesn’t make this situation any easier for either the consumers or the credit card issuers. Although some argue the point that credit card companies make money when fraud is committed, it becomes quite a hassle for them to dispute these charges.

Inevitably, these disputes can cause credit card issuers enormous sums of money when they are written off. The QMI report notes that many Canadians fail to read the small print or to uncheck pre-checked boxes when signing up for offers online. Often, unintentional charges then show up on the credit card bill.

This, of course, is not necessarily fraud, but instead the result of some consumers simply not paying close attention to what they are doing. Unfortunately, many online promotions can be quite deceptive. In fact, although 20 per cent of Canadians claim to have been victims of deceptive marketing schemes, 78 per cent of the respondents to Visa’s survey reported that they are aware of the “potential pitfalls” of signing up.

Says Gord Jamieson, the head of payment system risk at Visa Canada: “Deceptive marketing practices come in many forms. While the majority of retailers are honest and legitimate, consumers need to be conscious that there may be fraudsters out there and they should think twice before accepting an offer that sounds too good to be true.”

Visa suggests that consumers thoroughly check their card statements for unauthorized charges and attempt to contact the merchants directly if any are noticed. If not, the next step would be to contact the credit card issuer to set up a dispute and report the case to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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