Glossary

A

Advance fee loan
Scammers place an ad that offers guaranteed loans to people with bad credit. Victims are asked to pay an advance to secure the loan or credit card, but never receive the loan.
Affinity fraud
Fraudsters take advantage of the trust people place in other members of their organization or association to get personal information they then use to commit fraud.
Anti-virus scam
Scammers call victims to notify them that their computer has been infected by a virus. They convince their victims to let them remotely access their computers to destroy the virus, only to download the contents of the hard drive instead.

B

Benefits fraud
Con artists use falsified or stolen documents, or documents that belonged to someone who has died, to claim government benefits.
Bogus terminal
A credit or debit card terminal that has been tampered with so fraudsters can copy card information when purchases are made.

C

Cheque overpayment
Fraudsters send a cheque made out for more than the purchase price and ask the seller to reimburse them. The seller pays the fraudster back, but the cheque turns out to be NSF.
Cloning or skimming
Fraudsters use a device called a skimmer to copy, save, and reproduce the information on credit or debit cards.
Counterfeiting and alteration
Fraudsters use chemical products to alter a cheque so it can be cashed by the con artists.

D

Dead air calls
Fraudsters call phone numbers throughout the day to map out when victims are likely to be out of the house.

E

Epost
A free service Canada Post offers to send bills and other documents electronically via an online mailbox.

F

Forgery
Scammers take stolen cheques, make them out to themselves, imitate the victim’s signature, and walk off with the money.
Fraud
A deliberate act of misrepresentation using falsehood or other fraudulent means to cause another person to suffer financial damages or hardship.

I

ID theft statement
A form that victims of identity theft can complete and file with financial institutions, credit bureaus, and other organizations to limit their financial responsibility in the event they are defrauded.
Identity fraud
The deceptive use of someone else’s identity information in connection with various frauds.
Identity theft
Obtaining, possessing, or trafficking in personal information to commit a criminal act such as fraud.
Intermediary scam
Con artists convince their victim to help them out by cashing a cheque. The victim is promised a percentage, but the cheque turns out to be counterfeit.
International marriage scam
Fraudsters pass themselves off as eligible young singles looking for true love on online dating sites only to seduce their victims out of a pile of money.

L

Lebanese loop
Scammers install a device in an ATM to hold on to the victim’s card.

M

Malware
A program, such as a computer virus, designed to harm the user’s computer without their knowledge.
MICR numbers
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, the numbers at the bottom of a cheque.

N

Nigerian bank scam
Scammers send an email from overseas asking the victim to help recover a fortune or get money out of the country, for which they are told they will be well compensated, but the money never materializes.

P

Personal information
Any information that could be used to identify a person, such as their name, date of birth, address, Social Insurance Number, credit or debit card number and PIN, passport number, driver’s license number, health card number, user names, passwords, etc.
Personalization
Con artists steal their victim’s identity to conceal their own while involved with illicit activities.
Pharming
Scammers install malware on the victim’s computer to direct them to fake websites that look identical to the sites they actually intend to visit in order collect their personal information.
Phishing
Scammers masquerade as a financial institution and send emails asking their victims for personal information.
PIN
Personal Identification Number.
Ponzi scheme
An investment scam that pays returns to investors from money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profits.
Pyramid scheme
Scammers recruit individuals to invest in their products or services. These recruits then recruit other investors, and at the end of the day, the scammer at the top of the pyramid is the one who cleans up, while the recruits get almost nothing in return for their investments.

S

Shoulder surfing
Fraudsters use this simple technique to get personal information by peering over their victim’s shoulder.
SIN
Social Insurance Number.
Skimmer
A device used to copy, save, and reproduce information on a credit or debit card.
Spam
Unsolicited emails.
Spear phishing
Fraudsters sign up for a social networking site like Facebook and use the personal information that victims make freely available to personalize their attacks and extract more personal information so they can commit fraud.
Spoofing
Scammers program a fake number into the phone system so the number that pops up on the victim’s caller ID is the number of the bank or other organization they’re impersonating.
Spyware
Software that is installed on the victim’s computer without their knowledge to collect and transmit the information on the hard drive.

V

Vishing
Con artists pass themselves off as a financial institution over the phone, often using pre-recorded messages, to get personal information from victims.
Assistel