If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 911 for immediate assistance.
There are a variety of scams and frauds happening in Canada – with new ones invented daily. Learn how you can protect yourself from scammers and be scam smart.
IF SOMEONE IS ASKING YOU TO BUY GIFTCARDS, PROVIDE THEM WITH YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION (CREDIT CARDS, ACCOUNT NUMBERS, BLANK CHEQUES), ASKING FOR SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBERS, DATE OF BIRTH, ADDRESS, NAMES, ETC IMMEDIATELY HANG UP.
You can call CRA, your local bank, Amazon, Canada Post, Immigration, Insurance, whatever it may be, directly and ask them! Always confirm. Never give out any personal and financial information over the phone, through email, letter, text, social media, or in person.
Phone call scams
People trying to steal your personal information will pretend to be Government of Canada employees or from other recognized agencies, organizations, or businesses. If someone calls you saying they are from the Government of Canada, there are ways you can verify it’s official government communication.
For example, if the caller is claiming to be from CRA, you can ask for the caller’s name, work section, and office location and tell them that you want to first verify their identity.
Prepaid cards, bitcoin, e-transfers payments
The Government of Canada will not demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards.
In some cases, the Government of Canada will send you an email. For example, The Canada Revenue Agency may notify you by email when a new message or a document, such as a notice of assessment or reassessment, is available for you to view in secure CRA portals.
Email and text scams
Scammers will try to imitate the government or another agency and send fake emails requesting personal or financial information. These are called phishing emails. Make sure you delete phishing emails and do not click on any links; they can carry harmful viruses that can infect your computer.
Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics. If a telemarketer tries to get you to buy something or to send them money right away:
Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.
Always verify that the organization you’re dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action:
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 fake or deceptive ads, or spoofed emails. Always verify the company and its services are real before you contact them.
Beware of unsolicited calls where the caller asks you for personal information, such as:
If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you’re talking to.
Many scams request you to pay fees in advance of receiving goods, services, or a prize. It’s illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they’ll give you a loan.
There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it’s free.
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.
No legitimate company will call and claim your computer is infected with a virus.
Some websites, such as music, game, movie, and adult sites, may try to install viruses or malware without your knowledge. Watch out for emails with spelling and formatting errors, and be wary of clicking on any attachments or links. They may contain viruses or spyware.
Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep your operating system up to date.
Never give anyone remote access to your computer. If you are having problems with your system, bring it to a local technician.
Carefully consider who you’re sharing explicit videos and photographs with. Don’t perform any explicit acts online. Some scammers will pretend to have a relationship with you and when you send explicit images to them they will then demand money and threaten they will send the images out to your friends and family. Hackers can get remote access and record you.
By taking the following steps, you can better protect your online accounts from fraud and data breaches:
Spoofing is used by fraudsters to mislead victims and convince them that they are communicating with legitimate people, companies, or organizations. Here are the main types of spoofing used by fraudsters:
Watch out for invoices using the name of legitimate companies. Scammers will use real company names like Yellow Pages to make the invoices seem authentic. Make sure you inspect invoices thoroughly before you make a payment.
Compile a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which aren’t.
Educate employees at every level to be wary of unsolicited calls. If they didn’t initiate the call, they shouldn’t provide or confirm any information, including:
Only allow a small number of staff to approve purchases and pay bills.
These orders may be fraudulent.
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.
Share any updates with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, your financial institutions and police.
Tell family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about your experience. You may prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
Government of Canada (2022) Scams and fraud.
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or through the Fraud Reporting System.
Depending on the type of fraud, or how it occurred, you’ll also want to report it to other organizations.
You should also notify your service provider (telephone, cell phone, electricity, water, gas, etc.) of the identity fraud.
If you are outside of Canada, you must report the loss or theft to the nearest Canadian government office abroad.
Please contact the province or territory that issued the document if:
You can find contact information on provincial and territorial government websites.