Don't get scammed!

Thousands of Canadians are defrauded each year. Scam artists are up to date and well-organized. They use the latest trends and sophisticated techniques such as:

  • Professional marketing materials
  • Well-crafted and researched telephone scripts, which are traded among criminals
  • Friendly tone and "Generous" offers
  • Believable answers for your tough questions
  • Ability to impersonate legitimate businesses, charities and causes
  • Expertise to use your own emotions against you

If the Canada Revenue Agency calls and informs you that you owe them money, they will NOT request payment via bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or iTunes cards.

If you receive a letter in the mail, an email or a phone call advising that you've won a free trip, cruise or large sum of money – you probably didn't.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is.

The best way to protect yourself is to stay informed on the common tactics that fraudsters will try to use.

Counterfeit Money

If you are a business owner or an employee of a business and you believe that you may have counterfeit money in your possession, please complete the Request for Analysis of Counterfeit Money Form before mailing the completed form and the counterfeit money to:

190 Brady Street

Sudbury, ON

P3E 1C7

Attention: Police Community Response Centre

How to protect yourself

Remember, legitimate telemarketers have nothing to hide. But scammers will say anything to take your money. Always be cautious and remember you have the right to check out any caller by requesting written information, a call back number, references and time to think over the offer or request.

Always be careful about providing confidential personal information, especially banking or credit card details, unless you are certain the company is legitimate. And, if you have doubts about a caller, your best defense is to simply hang up. It's not rude – it's smart.

If you're in doubt, it's wise to ask the advice of a close friend or relative, or even your banker. Rely on people you can trust. Remember, you can stop phone fraud - just hang up!

If you suspect a relative or friend has been targeted, check if the following is occurring:

  • A marked increase in the amount of mail with too-good-to-be-true offers.
  • Frequent calls offering get-rich-quick schemes or valuable awards, or numerous calls for donations to unfamiliar charities.
  • A sudden inability to pay normal bills.
  • Requests for loans or cash.
  • Banking records that show cheques or withdrawals made to unfamiliar companies.
  • Secretive behaviour regarding phone calls.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

*This information was taken from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

 Helpful Tips from the Competition Bureau Canada
  • Always get independent advice if an offer involves money, personal information, time or commitment.
  • There are no guaranteed "get-rich-quick" schemes. Sometimes the only people who make money are the scammers.
  • Don't agree to offers or deals right away.
  • Always check a company or person's credentials before handing over money or personal information.
  • Do not rely solely on glowing reviews or testimonials to evaluate a company's success.
  • Log in directly to a website by typing it in your search bar. Never click links provided in a text or email.
  • Never send money or give credit card information to anyone you do not know and trust.

Common Scams

Bitcoin Scam

We have received numerous complaints from people being targeted in an email scam where cyber criminals demand to be paid in bitcoin. They may claim to have stolen your password; to have hacked your computer and/or webcam; and threaten to release compromising footage of you if you do not immediately pay them in bitcoin.

These emails vary in subject matter but have similar features:

• The subject line includes a password that you may have previously used or currently use

• The attacker claims they have used that password to hack your computer, install malware, and record video of you through your webcam

• The attacker says they will send video of you to your contacts unless you send them bitcoin. Most often this demand varies from $1,200 or $1,600 worth.

Home Renovation Scams

If you're considering home renovation projects such as new windows, siding, shingles, deck etc., do your due diligence before selecting a contractor. Prior to signing a contract and providing a down payment, research the company and/or individual offering the service. This could be easily accomplished by entering a business name or an individual's name into the search engine (i.e. Google) on your computer.

You may also want to check the company's Facebook page (or other social media profiles such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.).

Visit the Northern Ontario Better Business Bureau website for updates on business scams and alerts.

Do not sign a contract or give a deposit without checking your contractor!

1. Know Your Rights.

2. Do Your Research.

3. Verify Applicable Licensing.

4. Ask for Identification and References.

5. Obtain Everything in Writing.

6. If You Feel Uncomfortable, End the Interaction.

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is the fastest-growing type of fraud. Protect your precious personal information. Ask all marketing, research or charity callers for:

  • Detailed, written information that you can check yourself.
  • Time to think about the offer. Scam artists pressure you for an answer, saying the offer will expire or go to the next person if you don't act now.
  • Valid references and the means to contact them.
  • A call back number. But beware that a crook can give you a number where a colleague is standing by to finish taking your money.

Shred unwanted personal documents such as transaction records, credit applications, insurance forms, cheques, financial statements and tax returns.

If you or someone you know has been victim of a fraud or scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.