By Phil DeLand
Scams happen year round but with Christmas just weeks away, the number of people trying these scam increases ten fold.
The scammers will try to take advantage of you while your mind is focused on gift shopping for that thing your certain your wife mentioned that one time, or while you're busy cleaning the house so that your mother won't nag you when she comes over for dinner.
Be vigilant and ask questions when somebody calls demanding money.
The CRA isn't a hostage negotiator and won't tell you to send gift cards to payoff debt.
Hang up, Google search the number and see if it all adds up. Call the CRA yourself or check out the Anti-Fraud website.
You may get a call from somebody with a sob story intended to play on your emotions.
These people sometimes claim to be a relative or somebody known to the family who's now stranded and in need of cash.
Never feel pressured and don't feel rushed.
Get their information and tell them you'll call them back and if they are who they say they are, they'll wait.
Fraudsters will often tug on your heart strings and apply an urgency to the situation hoping to catch you off guard but don't fall for it, just do some verifying.
The kinds of people waiting to take advantage of you aren't limited to a phone call or e-mail.
Thieves will follow you around the electronic store while you're buying a large TV then follow you all the way home.
Once you go inside to ask for help, or wait for your help to show up later, they'll snatch that 60" right out of the back of your car.
You can protect yourself by always locking your car, even if you're stepping out for "just a minute."
It's also helpful to keep a blanket on hand or some other form over cover to keep the valuables out of sight and out of mind.