Fraud Prevention

Fraud Prevention Banner

This year marks the 13th anniversary of the annual education and awareness campaign that began in 2004 by encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.

Spearheaded by the Competition Bureau, Fraud Prevention Month is a unique effort that brings together over 80 law enforcement agencies and public and private sector organizations to combat fraud.

During the month of March, the Bureau and its partners in the Fraud Prevention Forum carry out numerous activities and host a variety of events to inform Canadians about the impact of fraud and how to protect themselves.

Check out the tips below, to help you fight fraud.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud

  • Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
  • Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
  • Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
  • Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
  • Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
  • Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
  • Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
  • If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report it! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.

Recognizing Fraud

The Competition Bureau, along with the Fraud Prevention Forum, plays an important role in helping Canadians get the information they need to be informed and confident consumers. Consumers also have a role to play in stopping fraud by arming themselves with the facts and reporting fraud when they encounter it.

Thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Fraud targets Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life. Recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself.

Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:

developing professional-looking marketing materials;
providing believable answers for your tough questions;
impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes;
pretending to be your ordinary supplier;
hiding the true details in the fine print;
preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment;
asking for fees in advance of promised services;
threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts;
falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services;
and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.

Report

Reporting Fraud is Critical

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than 5% of the total number of fraud victims report their experiences to law enforcement agencies. By reporting a scam, you provide law enforcement with the information they need to stop fraudsters and help prevent others from becoming victims. The information you provide is important!

How to Report Fraud

Fraudulent or suspicious activity can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.

Report instances of misleading or deceptive marketing practices to the Competition Bureau using the online complaint form or by telephone at 1-800-348-5358. If you are a victim of fraud, let your local police force know.

If you decide to file a complaint, it is important that you keep any evidence you may have related to your complaint. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • cancelled cheques
  • certified or other mail receipts
  • chatroom or newsgroup text
  • credit card receipts
  • shipping envelopes
  • facsimiles
  • money order receipts
  • pamphlets or brochures
  • phone bills
  • printed or electronic copies of emails
  • printed or electronic copies of web pages
  • wire receipts
  • notes taken as events take place
  • Keep evidence items in a safe location in the event that you are requested to provide them. This information may form an important part of any investigation. The information you provide could be used as evidence during a prosecution.

Common Scams

Watch out for fraudsters who attempt to reach out to you and then end up taking your money! By increasing your awareness of the vast array of scams, you can learn how to recognize their different forms.

Below are examples of common scams. Click on the links for more information on how these scams work and how to protect yourself.

Subscription Traps / Free Trial Scams
Business supplies / directory scams
Cheque cashing / online classifieds / money transfer job scams
Fraudulent health products or cures
Prize lottery scams
Work-at-home job opportunity scams
Antivirus scams
Continuity and Premium text messaging scams

Victim Stories

Every year, the Competition Bureau receives an average of 20,000 requests and complaints. These include complaints regarding mass marketing fraud, which is fraud by mail, telephone and Internet. Here are some examples of the kinds of complaints received by the Bureau.

Antivirus Software Sales Scams
Free-offer Scams
Debt-relief Scams

Note: Certain details have been changed to protect the identities of the victims.

The Little Black Book of Scams



The Canadian edition of The Little Black Book of Scams is a compact and easy to use reference guide filled with information Canadians can use to protect themselves against a variety of common scams. It debunks common myths about scams, provides contact information for reporting a scam to the correct authority, and offers a step-by-step guide for scam victims to reduce their losses and avoid becoming repeat victims.

Consumers and businesses can consult The Little Black Book of Scams to avoid falling victim to social media and mobile phone scams, fake charities and lotteries, dating and romance scams, and many other schemes used to defraud Canadians of their money and personal information.

Choose how you want to read The Little Black Book of Scams:

Read online in HTML

 

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