Fraud and Safety Policy
Your safety comes first.
Beware of your safety!
Beware of fraudsters and criminals. They are always on the lookout for targets and play on emotions or vulnerability to trick you or someone you know.
As you use our HELP App, you will be contacted by other parties directly.
HELP is unable to verify the authenticity of the offers and requests for help.
We encourage you to take safety and security precautions and reasonable steps to verify the legitimacy of the other party to avoid being deceived. We cannot and do not validate or research on users of our App.
Please remember … your safety is your own responsibility. So please be vigilant.
Here are some tips to help you. This is a living document. We are constantly refining our approach to meet the needs of our diverse communities as our experience grows. So please revisit regularly for updates.
What You Can Do to Avoid Being Deceived
Before agreeing to engage anyone, please check if the person is trustworthy or genuine. Use your preferred messaging tool to get to know the person and ask any question you may have before providing your contact details or engaging them.
If in doubt, find another person to engage.
Please pay special attention to the party you are engaging.
Don’t give your personal or financial information like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
Never transfer money to someone you've never met or to organisations you don't know.
Practice online safety. Always key in a website address instead of clicking on a link received in an email or SMS.
Don't be intimidated by high-pressure tactics forcing you to act immediately. Give yourself time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you is suspicious.
If you are ever in doubt, do not take any action before asking a trusted person about the validity of the message. Talking about it could help you make the right decision.
If you receive a threatening phone call or message from someone claiming to be from the government or police, hang up and do not respond. If they continue to call, ignore it. If they leave you a message, delete it.
Don't be afraid to say no.
Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.
If you've received a call or other contact from a family member in trouble, talk to other family members to confirm the situation.
Watch out for urgent-looking messages that pop up while you're browsing online. Don't click on them or call the number they provide.
Be careful who you share images with.
Tell your loved ones where you are. Send them the details of the other party including registration plates of vehicles if transport is involved. You can use our Emergency Distress Call App function to do this easily.
You may want to do a video call with the other party to discuss their situation and may want to ask them questions to verify their identity. You should ensure that the responses are consistent. You should also ensure that the person you talk with on the phone is the same one you will meet with in person.
Keep information on how to get in touch with local authorities handy.
How To Spot Deceptions
Look out for impersonators. Ignore suspicious or unsolicited calls, emails and messages.
Genuine helpers do not take money for their services or exchange money at inflated rates.
Remember that deceivers:
• try to gain trust by claiming to be from a well-known organisation or impersonating a known contact such as someone in law enforcement, a government representative or from Tech-Support.
• will suggest their own verification procedures, like going to websites they have created or calling numbers they provide to you or that your phone app or internet service is compromised and convince you to give them access.
• know how to appeal to your emotions and press your buttons to get what they want.
• create a sense of urgency to get you to make decisions without thinking.
• may place harassing phone calls .
In the case of Extortion, you may receive a message accusing you of serious criminal charges and asks that you respond to a fake law enforcement email address. When you contact them, they will ask you to send a payment to avoid going to jail. This is a scam! Law enforcement will never demand payment and will not threaten arrest by email or phone. If in doubt, contact the law enforcement agency directly.
What To Do If You're A Victim Of Deception
Collect your thoughts. Stay calm. Gather all information about the fraud, including:
• copies of text messages
Report the incident to the financial institution that transferred the money.
If you're a victim of identity fraud:
• place flags on all of your accounts
• change all of your passwords
• Contact the police
Depending on the type of fraud, or how it occurred, you'll also want to report it to other organizations.
Protect yourself from future fraud. Scammers often target victims of fraud a second or third time with the promise of recovering money. Always do your due diligence and never send recovery money.
Tell family, friends, neighbours and co-workers about your experience. You may prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
If you were deceived or think you witnessed a deception, report it to the local police, Immigration, Refugees Centre and HELP.
Remember to always contact the police for help or use the Emergency Distress Call function on our App, if appropriate.