Canada touts its Little Black Book of Scams

TORONTO, March 21 Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:37pm EDT

TORONTO, March 21 (Reuters) - With an eye at curbing fraudsters operating online, by mail, by phone and door-to-door, Canada on Wednesday published a small reference guide called: The Little Black Book of Scams.

The 30-page booklet, filled with caricatures and cartoons, warns Canadians against everything from lottery scams to pyramid schemes, as well as conmen operating through dating web sites.

"We have developed the Canadian edition of The Little Black Book of Scams to increase your awareness of the many types of fraud that target Canadians," wrote Melanie Aitken, the head of Canada's Competition Bureau, in the foreword of the booklet.

The Little Black Book of Scams focuses on con schemes that typically target gullible consumers, grandparents and the lovelorn, and the booklet is modeled around a similar one published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

"You cannot win money or a prize in a lottery unless you have entered it," the guide informs readers. "Many Canadians are lured by the excitement of a surprise win and find themselves sending huge amounts of money to claim fake prizes."

It also cautions that while there are many legitimate dating websites operating in Canada, there are many dating and romance scams that part people of their money by appealing to their more compassionate side.

"Scammers target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels," warns the booklet. "They know how to push your buttons to produce the response they want."

For a link to The Little Black Book of Scams:

link.reuters.com/syb37s

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Janet Guttsman)

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