Tips for consumers: recognize, reject, report fraud

News Release

March 29, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau reminds consumers of some simple tips to avoid being scammed, whether it is on the Internet, over the phone, by mail or in person.

Recognize it:

  • Protect your identity at all times. Only give out personal information when you know and can absolutely trust the person you’re talking to.
  • Never send money to anyone you don’t know or trust. Never send money or pay a fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings, and never wire money to someone whose identity you can’t confirm. Never give your credit card or banking information over the phone unless you know and trust the person you are talking to.
  • Ask for identification and be assertive. Demand to see identification of door‑to‑door salespeople and send them away if you’re not comfortable. Especially when someone claims to have an official capacity, make sure they provide you with clear and official identification. Inform yourself about the product or service offered and don't be pressured to act immediately. Take time to do your research.
  • Beware of text scams or spam email. Never reply to spam email or text messages from people or organizations you’ve never heard of. Be wary even if messages appear to come from a source you know — legitimate banks would never ask for account information in an email or text. Be careful when clicking on embedded links, especially when they transfer you to a site asking for your name and password.
  • Beware of free downloads and requests for passwords. A "free" game, application or trial offer that requires a credit card number can lead to charges you didn’t expect. Downloading suspicious content can harm your computer and compromise your identity. Choose uncommon passwords, change them regularly and don’t share them with others.

Reject it:

If you receive a suspicious email, delete it. If you question the legitimacy of a telephone call from an unfamiliar source, hang up. If you get something in the mail asking you to forward personal information or credit card details, throw it in the recycling bin. Trust your instincts – they could save you from becoming the victim of fraud.

Report it:

Resources are available for Canadians who have been deceived or defrauded, or who encounter suspicious activity that may be fraudulent. Consumers can contact local law enforcement authorities as a first step. Reporting fraudulent activity helps agencies identify trends, monitor risks and take action.

For more information about Fraud Prevention Month and other Bureau initiatives, such as the Canadian Edition of The Little Black Book of Scams, visit the Fraud Prevention section of Competition Bureau’s website.

Related Information

  • To report instances of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre, or call 1‑888‑495‑8501.
  • To report cases of unacceptable business practices, such as misleading representations and deceptive marketing, contact the Bureau, or call 1‑800‑348‑5358.

Associated links


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For general enquiries, please contact:
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Competition Bureau
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