With Fraud Prevention Month wrapping up, how can consumers avoid real estate-related fraud?
- Regularly review your credit card, bank and other financial statements for transactions that you haven’t authorized.
- Verify the information in your credit report (which you can obtain through Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada) annually.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles, and contact a customer service rep if your bills don’t arrive on time.
- Never provide personal or financial information over the telephone, via email or online unless you initiated the conversation or know who contacted you.
- Destroy any financial documents before you throw them out.
- Be very careful with your Social Insurance Number (SIN) because it’s a valuable piece of personal identification for criminals.
Showing photo ID is a common practise in Canada, so you shouldn’t worry if a real estate salesperson asks to see your driver’s licence before they allow you to tour an open house. Your SIN will only be requested in exceptional circumstances; for example, when a deposit has accumulated a sufficient amount of interest in a brokerage trust account and it needs to be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.