Frauds and Scams

Every year we see more than 2,000 frauds and scams in Hamilton making them a key concern for police. It is important to stay informed about ongoing fraud scams in order to better protect yourself against becoming a victim.

If you are a community group or organization interested in learning more about fraud and fraud prevention, you can request an educational seminar from one of our investigators.

ATM scams involve criminals stealing debit or credit card numbers and corresponding pin codes when victims use ATM machines. This can result in unauthorized withdrawals from the victim's account. When credit and debit card information is stolen electronically at an ATM it's called Card Skimming.

If you believe your bank account (business or personal) has been compromised and unauthorized transactions that have occurred, you should first contact the bank. If the bank reviews your complaints and takes responsibility for the loss, they will report it to police, there is no need for you to report it.

If the bank determines that you are responsible for the loss, you must get a letter in writing from them and then report it to police.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Fraud:

  • Always cover your PIN when using debit or credit cards.
  • Never give out your PIN.
  • Avoid giving out personal information over the phone or to businesses you haven't researched.
  • Be careful when buying and selling items online through website or news ads. Just because it's posted on a reputable source, doesn't mean it's not a scam.
  • Check your monthly bank statements regularly to make sure all transactions are authorized.
  • Get a credit check once a year.
  • Con artists pretend to work for governments or financial institutions. They request that you pay a bill immediately. The con artist then asks for personal or banking information which will allow the person access your money.
  • In one scam the con artists phones you and says they work for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or from the Immigration Department and demand you pay immediately or you will go to jail or get deported.
  • Con artists will appeal to your emotions and demand immediate action, affecting your ability to use logic or ask questions.
  • In one example an upset person calls you stating they are a family member and they may use the person's name and claim they need money to be bailed out immediately. A second person will take the phone, claiming to be an officer or lawyer who will give you instructions on how to wire the money.

You will receive a random call, letter or email telling you that you've won a prize. Once you follow up, you will be prompted to pay a service fee or tax to claim the prize. You don't pay taxes on lottery winnings, and no legitimate contest requires you to pay money to claim a prize.

This type of scam can take on many forms. The con artist will request a fee in advance for a service, product and/or opportunity (ex., pay before signing up for prize). Try to ensure the offer is legitimate; obtain references, a detailed legal contract and/or an agreed upon payment plan.

If you are a victim of a fraud, please contact the non-emergency line at 905-546-4925.

More Resources

Cyber Crime, Computer and Internet Safety – provides information regarding online frauds and crimes.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – provides more advice on scams and frauds and current types of frauds.

Competition Bureau's Information Centre – provides information regarding laws businesses must follow.

Office of Consumer Affairs – provides information about common scams that occur in your own province or territory.