How to Identify and Avoid Scams and Fraud
- Fraud Prevention
- The Alberta government has a page on fraud prevention: https://www.alberta.ca/fraud-prevention.aspx
- Use these checklists when you think it may be a scam: ** Checklists here.
- Canada Revenue Agency Scam Prevention https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/security/protect-yourself-against-fraud.html#h1
- Government of Canada: Fraud Facts: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04334.html
- **Canadian Government Fraud Quiz: What should you do during these common scams? https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04251.html
- How to Avoid Employment Scams: https://pwp.vpl.ca/siic/job-search-resources/avoiding-employment-scams/
2. Kinds of Fraud
There are many kinds of scams and fraud in the world today, and they are always changing and adapting. Below are some websites to some common scams, but make sure to keep on checking the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to see the most recent scams at : https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm and https://www.bbb.org/ca/news/scams
- Top scams https://www.bbb.org/globalassets/local-bbbs/council-113/media/bbb-institute/riskreport2019/2019-ca-scamtracker-riskreport-digital.pdf
- **Little Black Book of Scams:https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html
- Also available in:
- Chinese (Traditional):https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/CB-lBBS2-CT.pdf/$file/CB-lBBS2-CT.pdf
- Chinese (Simplified): https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/CB-lBBS2-CS.pdf/$file/CB-lBBS2-CS.pdf
- Spanish: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/CB-lBBS2-ES.pdf/$file/CB-lBBS2-ES.pdf
- Punjabi: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/vwapj/CB-lBBS2-PA.pdf/$file/CB-lBBS2-PA.pdf
- Tagalog: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html
- Common text scams: https://www.alberta.ca/common-text-scams.aspx
- Email scams: https://www.calgary.ca/cps/community-programs-and-resources/crime-prevention/email-scams-and-safety.html
- Alphabetical List of all scams: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/azindex-eng.htm
- Scams that focus on individuals: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/individual-individuelle-eng.htm
- Secret Shopper and Money-Laundering scams: https://www.calgary.ca/cps/community-programs-and-resources/crime-prevention/secret-shopper-and-money-laundering-scams.html
- **Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker?gclid=CjwKCAjwyo36BRAXEiwA24CwGaxluKd2KLMmlKKaT59Fl0RMOEVE2_lxCUn-nncao4Uf_0ftfqwIMBoClukQAvD_BwE
Better Business Bureau
Here are some videos about common scams:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI1Mu2lzdr0 (Romance Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2OsMw4ZRqI (Health and Medical Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yThlYtjnF7w (Emergency Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1lHg7wFhdI (Phishing Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9leguHWBSD8 (Identity Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBefXRCPZQw (Subscription Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e2oKv5dhpk (Investment Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gffwF2GsESk (Service Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zln7kuvHznw (Charity Scams)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQB6KfNJgIg (Example CRA Scam)
Most Vulnerable groups
Seniors and newcomers are the most likely to fall for scams and fraud.
3. Reporting a Scam
What should you do if you have been a victim of a scam? Follow the steps below.
A. Collect your thoughts
Stay calm. Gather all information about the fraud, including:
- copies of emails and/or text messages
B. Contact your financial institutions
Report the incident to the financial institution that transferred the money.
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)
C. 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.
D. Report the incident
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or through the Fraud Reporting System:
Depending on the type of fraud, or how it occurred, you’ll also want to report it to other organizations.
I. If the 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”.
II. 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.
III. 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
IV. 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.
V. Stolen Social Insurance Number
If you suspect someone is using your Social Insurance Number (SIN) you should visit a Service Canada Centre with:
- all necessary documents to prove fraud or misuse of your SIN
- an original identity document (your birth certificate or citizenship document)
- An official will review your information and provide you with help and guidance.
VI. 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.
E. 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, neighbours and co-workers about your experience. You may prevent someone else from becoming a victim.
If you receive a suspicious phone call that you think may be a scam, hang up immediately. Do not give out any information or money and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report your suspicions. To trace a call from your phone, hang up the phone, listen for a dial tone and press *57. There is usually a fee associated with this service. Stay on the line and listen for the announcement that verifies the trace was successful. You then need to contact the phone company. Call trace information is only released to the police. This is only available in Alberta.
Here are the city police websites for reporting your scam to the local police:
- Edmonton Police Service Service: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/CrimePrevention/PersonalFamilySafety/Frauds/ReportingFraud
- Calgary Police Service:https://www.calgary.ca/cps/community-programs-and-resources/crime-prevention/reporting-online-crime.html
- Red Deer RCMP: https://www.reddeer.ca/city-services/police-rcmp/report-a-crime/
- Lethbridge Police: https://www.lethbridgepolice.ca/online-reporting
- If you do not live in a city, report to your local RCMP location: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/detach/en/find/AB#wb-cont
4. Teaching Resources
- http://wiki.settlementatwork.org/uploads/English_for_Financial_Literacy_Volume_2.pdf (Fraud section)
- https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/about-scamwatch/tools-resources/online-resources/spot-the-scam-signs (Spot the Scam activity)
Scene 1: Rental Scam
- Fraud- is a crime which someone tricks somebody else to get their information or money.
- Scam (verb or noun)- A sneaky or dishonest plan that is meant to get someone’s information or money.
- Tenants- A person that lives in a house or apartment.
- Sign (verb) – When someone puts their name onto a paper to show they agree or wrote it.
- Contract – A written or spoken agreement that can be law.
- Units- A part of something such as a building.
- Market- A demand for something.
- Security deposit- Money that is given to a landlord of a home or apartment as proof that you will move-in and care for the home.
Scene 3: Employment Scam
- Overseas company- A company that is outside the laws of Canada
- Personal information –A person’s individual information such as address, phone number, banking information and any other information that could identify them.
- Research-to search and look up information
- Fit (noun)-Good enough quality for what you need
- The offer- A way to show that you are interested
- Social insurance number (SIN)- A number needed for taxes and services in Canada
- Deposit-To put into the bank
- Cheque- A piece of paper that is money
- Transfer-To take something from one place and put it into another place
- Client- A person who you work for
- Employment- Working
- Decisions- To make a choice
- Doubt- A feeling of uncertainty
Scene 4: Phone Scam
- Canada Revenue Agency- The government agency that takes care of taxes.
- Officer- A job title
- File (Verb)- To put a paper into a certain folder or to submit formal documents to an organization.
- Arrest-to take someone into police custody.
- Gift card- A card that is a voucher for a specific store or service
- Cryptocurrency- Digital money
- Report (verb)– To give a spoken or written account of something that you have experienced.
- Crime- Something that is illegal and can lead to punishment under the law.
- Financial institutions- A company that works with money.
- Credit report- A credit report is a statement that has information about your credit activity and current credit situation such as loan paying history and the status of your credit accounts
- Recognize- To know something from before
- Potential– Something that might happen.
#1. What should you always be able to do when you are deciding to rent?
#2. What is the maximum of a damage deposit?
#3. What are common tactics that scammers use?
#4. How can you protect yourself from scams?
#5. What is an employment scam?
#6. How do you protect yourself from an employment scam?
#7. Why do employment scams give you a big cheque?
#8. What do phone scams do?
#9. The CRA will never...
#10. If you are a victim of a scam, what should you do?
Acknowledgements of Actors: Mary A., Helen O., John J., Jan Y., Kanako H.E., Austyn V.,
Resources thanks to: Better Business Bureau, Calgary Police Service, and Sukiyaki House for assistance in content development and providing filming venues.