Skip to main content Skip to footer

Fraud and Financial Crimes

Don't fall victim to fraud

Whether it's Internet or mail fraud, deceptive telemarketing or identity theft, fraud is a serious problem. Owen Sound Police Service wants to prevent you from becoming a victim through education and awareness.

Thousands of Canadians lose millions of dollars every year through frauds. Save your money and keep yourself from becoming a victim of fraud by learning how to identify a scam.

Where can I go for help?

If you think you are experiencing financial abuse, ask for help. The abuser may try to make you think that you are the one that is causing the problem, but this is not true. If you don't have a family member or close friend who can help you, there are community resources you can use to stop the abuse.

Ask your bank or credit union, your local seniors' centre, or even your doctor where you can go for advice and help. Or, you can contact OSPS at 519-376-1234.

Learn more:

Fraud and scams (

Consumer Protection Ontario |

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (

How to protect yourself from scammers | CRTC 

Phone and door-to- door scams are a very common type of fraud. Someone will call or come to your door pretending to be a representative of a charity, an employee of a credit card company, or even a distant relative. You might be offered a free prize or trip. If you aren't completely sure who you are dealing with, do not give the person any money or information and do not sign any documents.

Sometimes people call or come to your door using high-pressure sales tactics to get you to buy something you don't want or need, or to talk you into getting work done on your house and then overcharging you or doing a bad job. While this is not always illegal, it is wrong and should be reported. Do not allow people into your home that you do not know. Obtain a business card and tell them you will call them later if interested. Research the company on-line before making any decision.

Phishing is when scammers impersonate legitimate companies by email, and lure consumers to share personal and private information. Scammers with request login credentials, personal or financial information to rectify “urgent problems”. Since the emails sent by scammers appears to be from a known business, victims have a false sense of security and end up providing their information to the scammers unknowingly. If you fall victim to a phishing scam contact your financial institution, notify them of the scam and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501.

 Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialize. Some of the more common types of frauds and scams include: deceptive letters, apartment rental scams, bank inspector fraud, Canada Revenue Agency scams, Grandparent scams, home renovation fraud, secret shopper scams, telemarking scams, work at home scams

Deceptive Letters - These involve materials forwarded to the recipient by way of mail or private carrier in which the information is either false, deceptive or misleading and causes the recipient to act on the information by providing an advance fee.

Apartment Rental Scams - Rental fraud happens when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property. In reality, the property does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time. The victim loses the upfront fee they have paid and is not able to rent the property they thought they had secured with the payment. Rental fraudsters often target students looking for university accommodation.

Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.

To prevent your identity from being stolen and used fraudulently, follow these tips.

At home:

  • empty your mailbox daily
  • store ID cards and ID documents in a secure place such as a locked fireproof safe
  • shred documents/expired cards with personal information once you no longer need them
  • check balances on your statements from banks, credit cards and companies often
  • report any strange activities in your bills and statements right away
  • check your credit report once a year for errors or strange activities
  • avoid giving out any personal information over the phone unless you've placed the call yourself
  • avoid giving out sensitive personal information over the phone when you’re in a public place
  • don't put more than your name and address on your personal cheques

When shopping:

  • carry as few cards and documents as possible
  • always check to see the credit card you get back from the cashier is your own
  • never tell anyone your banking PIN or credit card PIN
  • make sure no one is watching when you use a banking machine or ATM
  • avoid using banking or cash machines in isolated or dimly lit areas
  • avoid giving out too much personal information

When online or on your mobile device:

  • change your passwords often and make them strong
  • avoid posting personal information online such as your date of birth and mailing address
  • make sure you review and understand the privacy settings on all social media sites you use
  • disable the “geo-tracking” on your phone before posting public photos on social media sites
  • before you sell/dispose of your computer/phone/tablet, wipe its hard drive or destroy the drive/device
  • avoid online shopping/ banking when using public Wi-Fi
  • before you give credit card info or financial info to a business, ensure it’s a secure website
  • after a financial transaction online, sign out of the site & clear your browser’s cookies and cache
  • ensure your computer’s anti-virus and other security features to detect malware are up-to-date
  • don’t download apps/software on your phone/tablet unless they’re from official app stores
  • government organizations/financial institutions/police never email/ text you asking for your passwords/PINs
  • never click on a link from a spam message

Financial abuse is the illegal or unauthorized use of someone else's money or property. It includes pressuring someone for money or property.

Some types of financial abuse are very clearly theft or fraud. For example, if someone cashes your pension cheque and keeps all or part of the money without your permission, or if they misuse a power of attorney to take money from your bank account for themselves, they are stealing from you. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows the person appointed as the "attorney" to make financial decisions on behalf of another person, called "the donor". The attorney is required to act in the interests of the donor, not in his or her own interests.

Other examples of financial abuse are harder to put a name to. These can include pressuring, forcing or tricking you into:

  • Lending or giving away money, property or possessions
  • Selling or moving from your home
  • Making or changing your will or power of attorney
  • Signing legal or financial documents that you don't understand
  • Working for little or no money, including caring for children or grandchildren
  • Making a purchase you don't want or need, or
  • Providing food and shelter to others without being paid.

  • Keep your financial and personal information in a safe place.
  • Have an enduring or continuing power of attorney prepared appointing someone you can trust to look after you, so that even if you are ill and unable to look after yourself, your finances will be protected from others who might try to take advantage of you.
  • Ask for help if you think you are experiencing financial abuse.
  • Keep a record of money you give away and note whether it is a loan or a gift.
  • For major decisions involving your home or other property, get your own legal advice before signing documents.
  • Ask someone you trust to look over contracts and other papers before you sign them.
  • Be very cautious if you open a joint bank account – the other person can take away all the money without asking.
  • Make an effort to keep in touch with a variety of friends and family so you don't become isolated.

 Using an ATM is a convenient way to conduct financial transactions but you need to use caution to ensure your account is secure. Take the steps to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when entering your PIN and do not disclose your PIN to anyone
  • Cover the key pad when you enter your PIN
  • Be mindful of people trying to distract you
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit/debit cards
  • Check your account statements monthly and report any discrepancies
  • If you discover anything at a banking machine that looks suspicious (a card skimmer, for example), notify your bank immediately or contact the police for assistance
  • Make sure to check your credit history by contacting a national credit-reporting agency

Subscribe for notifications from Owen Sound Police Service

Stay up to date on our general news, alerts, current job opportunities, and events by subscribing to OSPS notifications.

You will receive an email from and must then confirm in the email reply to complete the subscription.

This website uses cookies to enhance usability and provide you with a more personal experience. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies as explained in our Privacy Policy.