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Winnipeg ‘Fraud Café’ returns with expert advice on avoiding scams

Both Winnipeg and Brandon police are seeing an increase in phone scams.
Both Winnipeg and Brandon police are seeing an increase in phone scams. Getty Images

Editor’s Note: This event has since been postponed due to COVID-19. Organizers hop to reschedule at a later date.

Winnipeggers are getting the chance to sit down and chat with some of Manitoba’s shrewdest fraud fighters to learn how to avoid being taken by scammers, swindlers, and con artists.

For the second year in a row fraud experts will offer free advice over coffee and snacks during two events held at Winnipeg malls later this month.

The idea, dubbed “Fraud Café”, attracted more than 250 people when it launched in 2019.

READ MORE: Winnipeg woman charged after police uncover more than $1 million in fraud

“It’s not hard to lure people over with free coffee — but we really took pride in being able to assist people from all walks of life, some who had very serious matters they needed guidance on,” said Jason Roy, an investigator from the Manitoba Financial Services Agency (MFSA).

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“Statistically, fraud is a very under-reported crime, but this kind of atmosphere makes it easier and more comfortable for people to ask questions and share their own experiences.”

Winnipeg man loses hundreds from gift card scam
Winnipeg man loses hundreds from gift card scam

This year’s Fraud Café will see experts from MFSA, the Winnipeg Police Service, the Consumer Protection Office, Credit Union Central of Manitoba, and the Better Business Bureau.

While new scams are always popping up, organizers say there are tried-and-true cons that scammers continue to use, simply because they keep working.

The experts will give advice on some of the more common forms of fraud, including romance scams, subscription scams, and phishing email scams, said Roy.

READ MORE: Winnipeg man hopes for money back after losing hundreds from gift card scam

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“We had a great turnout in our first year, which was due in part to the number of experts we had on hand to answer questions,” said Roy.

“This year we want to take a deeper dive into some of the most common forms of fraud our respective agencies are seeing.”

The Fraud Cafés will be held at Kildonan Place Shopping Centre March 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 25 at St. Vital Centre from 10 to 9 p.m.

Better Business Bureau shares tips to prevent fraud
Better Business Bureau shares tips to prevent fraud