Like many other businesses, Genworth Financial Canada may be the target of consumer security attacks or become the victim of the unauthorized use of our name and logo as part of a consumer fraud or identity theft crime. Additional safeguard information about such schemes is described on related pages dealing with Methods of Identity Theft, Other Consumer Frauds and Identity Theft Help.
Methods of Identity Theft
The growing popularity and reliance on the internet for financial transactions and other dealings has led to a related increase in online theft and fraud. Some criminals are out to steal your money; others are out to steal your identity.
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Identity Theft: Capturing and Misusing Another’s Personal Information
Identify theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal information to commit a crime. The fraud typically involves trying to open new accounts using the victim’s identity (which can wreak havoc on the victim’s credit), or misappropriating the victim’s existing accounts.
Some frauds use elaborate hoaxes with counterfeit checks from real companies. Others entail rummaging through your trash looking for discarded statements from your bank. No matter the technique, they’re all looking for valuable information about you: social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers. Whether it’s identity theft, or old-fashioned robbery, stay on your guard.
Fraudulent Techniques Used to Steal Your Personal Information
Pharming - A criminal "pharms" for your information by redirecting you to a sham web site without your knowledge or consent. The sham web site may look like the actual site you had intended to visit -- and likely will include legitimate company logos and trademarks. By duping you into believing the sham is legitimate, the aim is to get you to provide your confidential personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers and passwords.
Phishing - Someone "phishes" for your information by sending e-mails designed to appear as if they come from a legitimate source. They often will include company logos and trademarks as bait to lure the recipient into believing the e-mail is legitimate. The e-mail may even contain a link to a spoof copy of the legitimate website. E-mail recipients are asked to "update" personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers and passwords.
Skimming - "Skimmers" are electronic devices that capture personal or account information from your credit card, driver’s license, or even a passport. If your card is swiped through a skimmer, the information contained on your card’s magnetic strip is stored on the skimmer or an attached computer. Pay close attention to retail clerks who may have skimmers in addition to a legitimate machine by which your legitimate transaction is recorded.
Shoulder Surfing - This is often as simple as looking over someone’s shoulder at automated teller machines, cybercafés, airport kiosks, etc., but shoulder surfing also can be done from a distance using binoculars or high-tech gadgetry. Miniature closed-circuit television cameras can be (and have been) concealed in ceilings, walls or fixtures to capture data entry.
Spyware, Malware and Computer Viruses - These are computer programs loaded on to your computer, generally through the Internet and without your knowledge or consent. Some programs impair the performance of your computer, while others collect data that you type such as passwords, account numbers, etc.
Dumpster Diving - This describes people rummaging through your trash to find unshredded information like credit card offers, old bills and bank statements.
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Other Consumer Frauds
Consumer frauds and thefts remain a serious concern that require you to be vigilant in protecting your personal information, very demanding before you will share that information with any third party and extremely careful before providing any funds to a merchant or "contest" sponsor - online or off.
Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams - Criminals mail so-called "official" notices declaring that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. The mailing includes a check with the name of a legitimate business, but the check is counterfeit. The recipient is instructed to deposit the counterfeit check and deliver the proceeds to pay taxes or other expenses to redeem the prize. After the criminal has the money, the counterfeit check is discovered to be a fraud and the victim loses the money. For example, if you receive a check that looks like it is from Genworth Financial Canada in connection with a "lottery", that check is counterfeit and part of this type of fraudulent scheme.
Mail Fraud (Advance-Fee Frauds) - Similar to the Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams, fake notices are mailed from other countries (oftentimes purporting to come from foreign officials) saying they have millions of dollars they would like to deposit into your bank account -- if you first provide them with bank account numbers, advance fees, etc.
Newspaper Ad Scams ("Fix Your Credit") - Here, the fraud typically involves the use of small-circulation newspapers to publish fake classified ads (often stealing the name of a legitimate business) offering low interest rates or to repair credit. People who respond to the ads are asked to pay an advance fee or provide their personal information.
Inheritance Scams - Criminals notify you, generally by mail, that you are the beneficiary of a will or have received an inheritance from a stranger. This is a type of Advance-Fee Fraud similar to the Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams. If you receive an "inheritance" check that says it is from Genworth Financial Canada, that check is counterfeit and part of a scam.
Plain Old Theft - Crooks steal purses and wallets with credit cards; they steal checkbooks; they steal mail and look for account numbers, letters offering pre-approved credit, and anything else of value.
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Identity Theft Help
Genworth Financial Canada is a proud member of The Fraud Prevention Forum (FPF) and has worked with five other FPF partners to launch an online fraud quiz to measure consumers' awareness of fraud: www.abcfraud.ca.
To report a scam that you believe might misuse the name, assets or intellectual property of Genworth Financial Canada, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To report any other scam, or to get more information, you can visit the following web sites: