The Art of the Scam

Jan 22, 2020 | Heather J. LeBar


Every day on social media I see a warning about a scam going around and it sure seems like the scammers get better and more creative every year. Some of the common scams are:

  • Identity Theft
  • Romance Scams
  • Phishing and smishing (phishing by text)
  • Tax scams
  • Door-to-door scams
  • Emergency scams

The Competition Bureau of Canada publishes the Little Black Book of Scams to identify new and common frauds. The book has great resources for recognizing fraudulent schemes and reporting them so I encourage you to give it a read (it’s short). A few key takeaways are below:

Red flags:

  • Unsolicited friend requests.
  • Spelling mistakes in email and texts.
  • Personal information requests.
  • ‘Click link’ requests.

How to protect yourself:

  • Lock down your privacy settings and watch those friend requests.
  • Don’t click links in emails or texts that lead you to a login page.
  • Use strong passwords.

Fraudsters play on the best in our nature making some of these schemes especially heartless. Anyone who has experienced a trauma – death, divorce or stressful career change – is at particular risk. They are two and a half times more likely to be a victim of fraud.

If you got Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers in your stocking this Christmas you know about “truth default theory” – we are hardwired to assume that people are telling us the truth and the more honest we are, the more likely we are to assume the same in others. Trust is good but it should be earned.

Read the Little Black Book of Scams and share it with your friends and loved ones. Have conversations about the risks – sharing our knowledge and experience is how we help each other recognize these schemes before we get drawn in.

Remember: Trust – but verify.

Until next time,


Look for me on Facebook – H.J. LeBar of the Harper Wealth Management Group of RBC Dominion Securities or LinkedIn – Heather J. LeBar, for more frequent updates.