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How to protect yourself against fraud

Posted on: Nov 18, 2021

Fraud Recognize It, Report It, Stop It.

What is Fraud?  Fraud is a wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.

As of October 31, 2021, there were 62,333 reports of fraud in Canada. $198 Million were lost to fraud.  The majority of these crimes aren’t committed by kids at their computers, 80% or more of the work is conducted by criminal organizations.


Here are a few tips to help protect you and your loved ones:

Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

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:

  • Request the information in writing
  • Hang up

Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions.

Do Your Research

Always verify that the organization you’re dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action:

  • Verify Canadian charities with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Verify collection agencies with the appropriate provincial agency
  • Look online for contact information for the company that supposedly called you, and call them to confirm
  • Verify any calls with your credit card company by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card
  • 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.

Don’t Give Out Personal Information

Beware of unsolicited calls where the caller asks you for personal information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your birthdate
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Your credit card or banking information
  • If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you’re talking to.

Protect your Social Insurance Number (SIN).  Canada Revenue Agency never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers.  They will never threaten you or demand payment by e-transfer or other means.

Beware of Upfront Fees

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.

Protect Your Computer

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. (CUE IT Services ensures CUE computers are compliant.)

Never give anyone remote access to your computer. If you are having problems with your system, bring it to a local technician.

Be Careful Who You Share Images With

Carefully consider who you’re sharing explicit videos and photographs with. Don’t perform any explicit acts online.

Disable your webcam or any other camera connected to the internet when you aren’t using it. Hackers can get remote access and record you.

Protect Your Online Accounts

By taking the following steps, you can better protect your online accounts from fraud and data breaches:

  • Create a strong password by:
    • Using a minimum of 8 characters including upper and lower case letters, and at least 1 number and a symbol
    • Creating unique passwords for every online account including social networks, emails, financial and other accounts
    • Using a combination of passphrases that are easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess
  • Enable multi-factor authentication
  • Only log into your accounts from trusted sources
  • Don’t reveal personal information over social media

What To Do

  1. Collect your thoughts.  Stay calm. Gather all information about the fraud, including:
  • documents
  • receipts
  • copies of emails and/or text messages
  • Contact your financial institutions
  • Report the incident to the financial institution that transferred the money.

        2. If you’re a victim of identity fraud:

  • place flags on all of your accounts
  • change all of your passwords
  • report the fraud to both credit bureaus (Equifax and TransUnion)

         3. Contact the police

  • Report the incident to your local police and get a file number for future reference. If you find suspicious activity on your credit report, update your file with the police.

          4. Report the incident

Depending on the type of fraud, or how it occurred, you’ll also want to report it to other organizations.

  • Fraud that took place online through a website

Report the incident directly to the administrators of the website. You can do so through a link such as “Report Abuse” or “Report an Ad”.

  • Redirected mail

If you suspect that someone had your mail re-directed, contact Canada Post.  You should also notify your service provider (telephone, cell phone, electricity, water, gas, etc.) of the identity fraud.

  • Lost, stolen, or misused immigration documents

Please contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada if:

  • your immigration documents have been lost or stolen
  • you suspect someone is fraudulently using them
  • Lost or stolen passport

If your passport is lost or stolen, report the incident to Passport Canada and to your local police.  If you are outside of Canada, you must report the loss or theft to the nearest Canadian government office abroad.

  • Stolen Social Insurance Number

Visit a Service Canada office and bring all the necessary documents with you proving fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also bring an original identity document (your birth certificate, or immigration or citizenship document).

  • Lost or stolen provincial or territorial identity documents

These documents include:

  • your birth certificate
  • your driver’s license
  • your health card
  • other documents issued by a province or territory

Please contact the province or territory that issued the document if:

  • the document has been lost or stolen
  • you believe someone is fraudulently using this information

You can find contact information on provincial and territorial government websites.

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.

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.

Everybody benefits, except the criminal.