Unauthorized and misleading communications
Occasionally, Canadians may receive a communication by telephone, mail or email that claims to be from the Government of Canada (Service Canada) but is not. This kind of unauthorized communication may request personal information such as:
- Social Insurance Number
- credit card number
- bank account number, and
- passport number
The unauthorized communication may state that this personal information is needed so that the client can receive a refund or benefit payment. Another common unauthorized communication refers the person to a website resembling the Service Canada website, where the person is asked to verify their identity by entering personal information. Canadians should not respond to such communications.
In particular, the Government of Canada does not endorse products or solicit the purchase of products on behalf of private-sector companies.
In the case of communications regarding pension benefits for example, the Government of Canada provides information about potential pension benefits through mailings, a dedicated Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) call centre, webpages with information for seniors and various outreach programs.
When it is an authentic Government of Canada communication:
- any communication from the Government of Canada (Service Canada) will provide contact information that is consistent with the information provided on Government of Canada websites
- the Government of Canada will not make a request by email for personal information of any kind, including financial or credit card information
- the Government of Canada will not communicate client information to a third party unless formal consent is provided by the client
- the Government of Canada will not leave any personal information on an answering machine
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- am I expecting additional money from the Government of Canada (Service Canada)?
- does this sound too good to be true?
- is the requester asking for information I would not include with my applications?
- is the requester asking for information I know the Government of Canada (Service Canada) already has on file for me?
- how did the requester get my email address?
- am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
We will continue to post notifications of unauthorized/misleading communications as we become aware of them.
If you are still in doubt, or you receive a communication that appears to be similar to a Service Canada program, such as the CPP, we encourage you to check our website or contact us.
For more information about unauthorized communications, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s fraud section.
If you have responded to what may resemble a misleading or fraudulent communication, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-495-8501. You can also contact the Competition Bureau for assistance, online or by calling 1-800-348-5358.
See our examples of unauthorized communications. Service Canada will occasionally leave telephone messages for clients on their answering machines. In these cases, a number will be provided for the client to call back, along with a request for the client to have their Social Insurance Number available when they call. However, not all telephone messages claiming to be from Service Canada are genuine. To verify the authenticity of a Service Canada telephone number, contact us directly.
- Date modified: