Phishing scams are everywhere right now, with many people online connecting with others while we try to stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family during this pandemic. Phishing literally means FISHING. It’s when someone sends you a text or email asking you to help them, or to reset a password, or that you have won some money or entitled to a government refund.

There are so many types of phishing scams and the scammers become cleverer each day trying to fraud you out of your money or identity.

One fraud that we see often is the one where the scammer pretends to be a trusted person, like a grandchild, a colleague at work or even a minister. The scammers will send you an email or call you on the phone and ask for some kind of financial aid, often beginning as unspecified urgent “help”.

To ensure you don’t get caught up in a scam like this make sure to contact the friend, colleague, family member directly and let them know about the inquiry. Often in the email, the scammers can make the email appear to come from a trusted person but when you actually click to reply to the email it is embedded with a completely different email address and not your trusted person’s email address at all.

Ontario Horticultural Association members/directors will never email, text or phone you personally asking for money or gift cards. So, if you happen to get an email, text or phone call like this from anyone you know through the OHA, think carefully about the authenticity of the request and reach out to someone on council to help verify or dismiss a fraudulent request. Don’t ever reply to an email or text or phone call you suspect may be fraudulent. Start a new thread of communication with the person to verify it’s them, do this by composing a brand new email, or pick up the telephone and make a call to your trusted person.

Unfortunately the benevolent nature of not for profit organizations like the OHA and the people who represent them become targets for the most unscrupulous scammers. So, it’s good to be aware of these potential fraudulent threats to protect yourself.

For more information about different types of fraudulent scams, check this resource from the Government of Ontario.

Thanks so much,
Michele Petick
Website Coordinator to the OHA