D. Smith: Costly home and Internet scams can be avoided

The dark and criminal side to modern technology is the wide range of scams.

When you get a telephone call and someone is trying to sell you something or asking for your credit card information, beware that this might be a scam.

Modern technology has increased our awareness of products, information and is a wonderful resource for searching for and reviewing topics of interest.

The dark and criminal side to modern technology is the wide range of scams—costing millions of lost dollars a year to consumers.

Online dating fraud and computer fraud are current and expanding scams in Canada.

Online dating is a popular fraud target in Canada. A computer is a great hiding place for a criminal, and that includes a criminal setting up a scam to talk about relationships and love.

Fraudulent people pretend to look for relationships on line and over time request the transfer of money to the criminal.

Don’t believe and act on hard luck or sad emotional stories from Internet correspondence.

Many online dating sites have criminals surfing the net for their next victim. This involves doing the same thing to many people at the same time.

Once money is transferred to a criminal—it is difficult to get your money back.

Another scan is receiving a telephone call or direct e-mail that your computer is at risk of crashing because of a virus or malicious software. The caller may suggest he or she works for Microsoft and offers to help you fix your computer over the telephone or on line.

You may be asked to open up other programs to help protect you against viruses, but the reality is they may be installing malicious software on your computer or charging you fees.

Do not give scammers access to your computer. With access, they can use personal and sensitive data such as your online banking, user names and passwords to access your personal data base. Most of these calls come from outside Canada.

If you have questions or concerns with a product or business, check out the Consumer Protection BC’s Online Dispute Resolution http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/.

This website is for consumers to understand your rights and obligations, get accurate information for more informed decisions, and find out what you can do if you have a problem or complaint.

Trust your own instinct.

If you have a voice inside you—urging caution—listen and trust your own instinct.

Kelowna Capital News