Protect Yourself from Fraud

Recognizing Fraud

Identity theft and financial scams are among the fastest growing crimes in North America.

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

Fraudsters are professional criminals who 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, web sites, charities, and causes;
  • pretending to be your usual 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.

Common Scams

  • 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

For more information on these and other scams, visit the Competition Bureau's web site,

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft begins when someone obtains your personal information such as your driver's license, health care number, date of birth, online passwords, credit card number or your card's Personal Identification Number (PIN).

With a few pieces of personal information they can begin to make financial transactions in your name. They might open a new credit card account, take out a car loan or mortgage your home. You probably won't realize what has happened until it's too late and your credit rating is affected.

Protect Your Identity

  • Don't carry your SIN card or birth certificate with you. Keep them in a safe place.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to look for any credit inquiries or changes you have not authorized.
  • Be suspicious of any e-mail that asks for personal or account information.
  • Don't overshare on social media. Scammers can use your birth date and other personal information to steal your identity.

Protect Your Payment Cards

Canadian credit and debit cards are safe to use, and new payment technologies such as mobile payments have the same security features Canadians expect from their cards. But as with all things, it's always a good thing to be diligent and take a few simple precautions to protect yourself.

  • Sign your new debit or credit card as soon as you receive it
  • Avoid choosing an obvious PIN, such as your phone number or date of birth
  • Carry only the cards you use most often and leave any others at home in a safe place
  • Always check your monthly statements and notify your credit union if you see any unfamiliar transactions
  • Notify your credit union if you are unable to retrieve your card from an ATM
  • Change your PIN at least twice a year, always shield your PIN, memorize it and do not disclose it to anyone

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