Internet of Things

Smart phones and tablets are used for a multitude of activities, including “Apps” which are downloaded for various purposes.  Home automation is becoming popular – allowing you to remotely control various equipment items in your home; everything from your refrigerator to your security system.

Internet of Things is when you pair, or connect, your smart phone or tablet with all those consumer products, including your car.  Since you are using the internet to access those products or pieces of equipment, you are also  creating an opportunity for hackers to steal all your data and personal information.

If you feel you have been a victim of this type of criminal activity, report it to the police and get a copy of the police report.  Depending on what you have added to your network, you may also need to contact your insurance company, health care providers, the Credit Bureaus and certainly the Canadian Ant-Fraud Centre.

Having all the convenience of remote control can be very beneficial – just recognize that there are added risks.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Travel Scams 6

In this post we’ll identify some criminal and some simply unethical activities you might encounter when travelling.

In some countries, specific products may attract your attention.  One good example is hand woven rugs and carpets available in several Middle East and North Africa countries.  While some may be top quality at reasonable prices, others may be expensive but worthless.  Do some homework so you are somewhat knowledgeable about such products and what features to watch for, before spending your money.

 Another popular tourist item is jewellery.  You may find items billed as genuine gems or pure gold, but which instead are only a “pure” scam.  Once again, try to obtain some basic knowledge before spending money on such items.

Last, but not least, may be a situation where you are offered a tour of a famous church, temple or other famous attraction.  However, you then may be informed that the attraction is closed for some holiday, but you’re taken to a souvenir shop where your host or driver is receiving a commission.  This could happen even when the tour was supposed to be in your itinerary.  Be sure the specific tour offer is in writing, if it’s pre-planned, or ask around if it’s a last minute side trip while you’re in the area.  Get some assurance before paying the host, driver or tour guide.

Travel safely!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Travel Scams 5

We have two more scams to watch for when travelling.

First is a currency exchange scam.  Getting your currency exchanged at a reputable bank or official exchange counter is the best way to stay safe.  Criminal organizations are offering the service at convenient locations using calculators that are rigged  to deliberately miscalculate the exchange rates.  Of course the miscalculation will always be in their favour, but unless you’re familiar with rates, you may not recognize the discrepancy.

The second scam comes in the form of a taxi meter.  Drivers in many parts of the world are adept at taking you for a ride – physically and financially!  Before calling for a taxi, ask around to get an idea of approximate taxi fares to certain destinations.  And when you get in the taxi, make sure the starting number on the meter is an amount you agreed to.

You may experience unexpected costs when you’re on a trip, but don’t make the problem worse by also being scammed.   Travel safely!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Travel Scams 4

Here are the remaining tips from ScamBusters to help keep you safe from travel scams:

7.  Make sure you get copies of all documents – examples include receipts, your itinerary and the company’s cancellation and refund policies.

8.  Don’t be a victim of the high pressure tactics used by the perpetrators of travel scams.  They will often demand that you accept the offer “today”, or advise you that this is the last day the offer is available.  They don’t want you to do your due diligence to determine that they are, in fact, a fraud.  If it’s such a good deal they should welcome your checking of details.

9.  Don’t pay anything before you get the information.  Some scammers will even demand that you pay for the information.  Legitimate businesses want you to have all the information.

10 . Ask for references and contact them.  Then be wary of references who sound like they are simply repeating what the company told you.

If you think you have been a victim, call police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Travel Scams 3

Here are 3  more tips from ScamBusters to help keep you safe from travel scams:

4.  If you are interested in a travel offer, ask yourself what is NOT included.  That could include service charges, processing fees and taxes – all of which you would be expected to pay.  Ask for details and don’t be satisfied with vague information such as “major airline”, without actually naming it.

5.  It’s a good idea to pay with a credit card because you can dispute the charge if it turns out to be a scam.  But be sure you know what the dispute window is on your credit card – is it 60 days?  In some cases the offer may be for an “available” price or discount that is more than 60 days away.

6.  Never dial a 900 number to reach a travel agency, discount club or any other offer.  No legitimate company will require you to pay for a 900 call to their customer service department.  Beware also of numbers with 809, 758 or 664 area codes.  The number may appear ordinary, but is actually like an unregulated 900 number originating in the Caribbean, charging you exorbitant per minute rates.

As we have warned in many other posts, never exchange information or money when they contact you; only when you have verified their legitimacy and you call them.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Travel Scams 2

We’re nearing a busy vacation and travel season and scammers know people are looking for bargains.  ScamBusters have some tips to keep you safe and we’ll mention 3 of them here.

1.  If you receive a travel deal by e-mail, it’s most certainly a scam.  Most bulk e-mail travel offers or free vacations are scams.  If you receive the offer by phone, be skeptical.  If you’re not personally familiar with company, get the name, address and local telephone number.  (Scam example: Our family has received phone calls offering us a great WestJet travel bargain because we have been such loyal customers.  It’s a scam because we have never flown on WestJet.)

2.  “If it sounds too good to be true …..”   It’s likely a scam.  Listen for the details or read the fine print.  In many of these scams, the air fare may be free, but there could be a clause that states you must stay in specific accommodations.  Public contests and lotteries have rules and regulations and you usually have to “enter” to win.  Always get more details – it shouldn’t cost anything to get your prize.

3.  Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call and you know the company is reputable.  You should never have to give additional information such as banking information or Social Insurance Number.

More on this topic in the next post.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Vacation Scams

Travel and vacation scams are often similar to various rental scams.  The scammer will advertise a vacation property that looks inviting with excellent terms, conditions and pricing.  It usually means that it looks like a good deal and there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious.

Unfortunately, the pictures may have nothing to do with any real property and the property itself may, or may not, even exist.  There will likely be some pressure to act quickly to take advantage of the offer and to send a deposit.  That will be the end of any contact or transactions – the scammer simply disappears, with your deposit.

Sometimes the offer of such a property may be from someone claiming to be an agent or broker who specializes in vacation rental properties. They may suggest they represent a travel company which sounds legitimate.  A common practice is for the “agent” to claim that there are many buyers interested in the property, so to take advantage of the offer you must act quickly to send your deposit.  There may even be an added charge to facilitate fast processing of the deposit.

Never be pressured into sending money quickly.  Check with the property owner if possible, check public records and online reviews to make sure the property is as listed.  And don’t pay the fees or deposits by wire transfers or debit cards.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Jury Scams

Scammers use these approaches to create victims by keying on the general reluctance and apprehension people have for courts and jury duty.

The first one involves a phone call from someone advising that you didn’t show up for jury duty – that will create some fear of having done something illegal by not attending.  The scam is that the caller will then request that you provide personal information so they can update the file and cancel an arrest warrant.  The possible arrest warrant is another tactic to play on fears and make you inclined to provide the requested information.

A similar scam involves a caller, posing as a court employee, asking you to provide personal information for possible jury duty.  Once again, even though you may not be enthused about jury duty, you are tempted to provide the information to avoid any penalty for refusing.

Don’t provide personal information when requested to do so by telephone or text.  If it’s in writing, you can verify legitimacy by calling the sender for confirmation before responding.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Equifax Breach

We continue to receive questions about the Equifax breach from last year, even though it hasn’t been in the news lately.

The first thing to remember is that the breach was at Equifax US , not Equifax Canada.  We understand that only two groups of Canadians who may have had their personal information put at risk.

1.  Any Canadian residents who have U.S. Social Security cards.  We have met one individual who, although an American citizen with a U.S Social Security Card, has lived in Canada for 40 years.  At about the time of the Equifax breach, she received a letter from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) that someone in the U.S. was attempting to use her Social Security number.  With the help of our IDShield Provider, we were able to help her get a form for submission to the IRS to confirm her own identity.

2.  Any Canadians who may have made a major purchase in the U.S., which would have triggered a credit check.  That check would have gone through Equifax.

We also understand that anyone who may have had their information compromised were to receive a letter from Equifax.  We hope that information helps. 

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.