The Little Black Book of Scams

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February 15, 2017

The Canadian Edition
The Little Black Book of Scams
Your guide to protection against fraud

First published by the Competition Bureau Canada 2012
Reproduced with permission from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Illustrations by Pat Campbell

For information on the Competition Bureau’s activities or to obtain alternate formats, such as regular print, Braille or another appropriate format please contact:

Information Centre — Competition Bureau
50 Victoria Street, Gatineau, QC K1A 0C9

Toll free: 1‑800‑348‑5358
TTY (for hearing impaired): 1‑866‑694‑8389
Fax: 819‑997‑0324

Permission to reproduce

Except as otherwise specifically noted, the information in this publication may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from the Competition Bureau provided due diligence is exercised in ensuring the accuracy of the information reproduced; that the Competition Bureau is identified as the source institution; and that the reproduction is not represented as an official version of the information reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Competition Bureau. For permission to reproduce the information in this publication for commercial purposes, please contact the:

Web Services Centre

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, ON Canada
K1A 0H5


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Industry.

This publication is available online at

Aussi offert en français sous le titre Le petit livre noir de la fraude.


Minister's message

Hon. Navdeep Bains - Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Consumer confidence in the marketplace is of the utmost importance for the government. Informed and aware consumers are important players in an innovation economy.

That’s why we encourage all Canadians to empower themselves by reading The Little Black Book of Scams and take note of its tips on how to stop fraudsters in their tracks. This booklet outlines many of the most common types of scams, and lists the contact information of fraud-fighting agencies that are there to help.

I believe in a Canada that is a nation of innovators, one that is aware and unburdened by the high cost of fraud in both the traditional and digital economies.

Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their methods, but so are consumers. You can make a difference not only in your own life, but in the lives of the people you care about by recognizing, rejecting and reporting fraud. This booklet in its printed, online and video editions is an important step in that direction.

Hon. Navdeep Bains,
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Commissioner of Competition

John Pecman - Commissioner of Competition

Fraud is a crime that threatens every Canadian, regardless of their education, age or income. Scammers use a variety of devious tactics to defraud unsuspecting victims, such as imitating well‑known brands online and using deceptive claims to entice consumers through telemarketing, emails or social media.

The Competition Bureau works to protect all Canadians by cracking down on deceptive marketers and ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

Our Little Black Book of Scams aims to increase your awareness of the many different kinds of fraud that target Canadians. It provides tips on how to protect yourself and debunks common myths that might allow fraudsters to gain your trust.

Since we first launched the booklet in March 2012, it has remained one of our most popular publications. We’ve distributed more than 100,000 printed copies to Canadians, and our online version has been visited or downloaded from the Competition Bureau’s website more than 250,000 times.

I am very grateful to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who originally developed The Little Black Book of Scams and granted us permission to produce this edition for Canadians.

John Pecman
Commissioner of Competition

Table of contents

Myth busters

Busting these common myths will minimize your chances of being scammed.

  • All companies, businesses and organizations are legitimate because they are licensed and monitored by the government: This is not always true. While there are rules about setting up and running a business or a company in Canada, scammers can easily pretend to have approval when they don't. Even businesses that are licensed could still try to scam you by acting dishonestly.
  • All Internet websites are legitimate: This is not always true. Websites are quite easy and cheap to set up. The scammers can easily copy a genuine website and trick you into believing it is legitimate.
  • There are short cuts to wealth that only a few people know: This is not always true. Ask yourself the question: if someone knew a secret to instant wealth, why would they be telling their secret to others?
  • Scams involve large amounts of money: This is not always true. Sometimes scammers target a large number of people and try to get a small amount of money from each person.
  • Scams are always about money: This is not always true. Some scams are aimed at stealing personal information from you.

Golden rules

Remember these golden rules to help you beat the scammers.

  • Always get independent advice if an offer involves money, personal information, time or commitment.
  • There are no guaranteed get‑rich‑quick schemes—sometimes the only people who make money are the scammers.
  • Do not agree to offers or deals right away. If you think you have spotted a great opportunity, insist on time to get independent advice before making a decision.
  • Do not hand over money or personal information, or sign anything until you have done your homework and checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with.
  • Do not rely on glowing testimonials: find solid evidence of a company's success.
  • Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
  • Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • If you spot a scam or have been scammed, get help. Contact the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre, the Competition Bureau or your local police for assistance.

Scammers are imaginative and manipulative. They know how to push your buttons to produce the response they want.

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Every year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to the activities of scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door‑to‑door and telephone scams.

We are pleased to bring you the first Canadian edition of The Little Black Book of Scams. We hope this book will increase your awareness of the vast array of scams that target Canadians and share with you some easy steps you can take to protect yourself.

Scammers do not discriminate

Scammers target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. Fake lotteries, Internet frauds, get‑rich‑quick schemes and miracle health cures are some of the favoured means of separating the unwary from their money. New varieties of these scams appear all the time.

The Competition Bureau has seen the devastating effects scams can have on people and their families. One of the best ways to combat this kind of fraud is to take measures to prevent yourself from being caught in the first place.

Protect yourself

If you want to stay on top of scams, inform yourself on how to recognize the various types of scams and protect your personal information by visiting law enforcement organizations' websites, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or other reputable organizations.

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Lotteries, sweepstakes and contests

Many Canadians are lured by the excitement of a surprise win and find themselves sending huge amounts of money to claim fake prizes.

What to look for

You cannot win money or a prize in a lottery unless you have entered it yourself, or someone else has entered it on your behalf. You cannot be chosen as a random winner if you don't have an entry.

Many lottery scams try to trick you into providing your banking and personal details to claim your prize. You should not have to pay any fee or tax to claim a legitimate prize.

Don't be fooled by claims that the offer is legal or has government approval—many scammers will tell you this. Instead of receiving a grand prize or fortune, you will lose every cent that you send to a scammer. And if you have provided other personal details, your identity could be misused too.

A fake prize scam will tell you that you have won a prize or a contest. You may receive a phone call, an email, a text message or see a pop‑up screen on your computer. There are often costs involved with claiming your prize, and even if you do receive a prize, it may not be what was promised to you.

The scammers make their money by making you pay fees or taxes, call their premium rate phone numbers or send premium text messages to claim your prize. These premium rate calls can be very expensive, and the scammers will try to keep you on the line for a long time or ask you to call a different premium rate number.



It’s Wednesday morning… and you open an email or answer your phone.

Suddenly — your life changes!!!

“Congratulations! You’ve just won a lottery/a cruise/a shopping spree/a BRAND… NEW… CAR!!!”

Yes… you’re already a WINNER!!!

Or are you?

Scammers and fraudsters play upon the universal desire to win big…

… with lottery, sweepstakes and contest scams designed to put money in their pockets…

… as they profit by making you pay premium text or phone rates, bogus “fees” or hidden costs.

Even worse, many of these scams are designed SPECIFICALLY to steal your banking and other personal information…

… after which the fraudsters cash in by stealing from you or holding your data for ransom.

Fact is, if you didn’t enter a contest, or buy a ticket,

there’s no way you are a lawful, legal winner of ANYTHING…

and your “scam alert” should be ringing in your head.

Here’s a “winning” formula:

Only buy legitimate tickets for lotteries…

Be wary of premium rate phone numbers or premium texts

Don’t send money for fees or taxes to people you don’t know and trust…

Don’t give away your banking information or any other personal information — EVER.

Be smart — and good luck!

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Protect yourself

Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee or tax to collect winnings.
Never send money to anybody you don't know and trust.
Don't provide personal banking details to anyone that you do not know and trust.
Examine all of the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully—claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs. Calls to premium rate phone numbers or premium text messages can be very expensive.
Ask Yourself
Did I enter this contest? You cannot win money or a prize in a contest unless you have entered it yourself, or someone else has entered it on your behalf.

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Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes promise a large financial return for a relatively small cost. Pyramid schemes are illegal and very risky—and can cost you a lot of money.

What to look for

In a typical pyramid scheme, unsuspecting investors are encouraged to pay large membership fees to participate in moneymaking ventures. The only way for you to ever recover any money is to convince other people to join and to part with their money as well. People are often persuaded to join by family members or friends. But there is no guarantee that you will recoup your initial investment.

Although pyramid schemes are often cleverly disguised, they make money by recruiting people rather than by selling a legitimate product or providing a service. Pyramid schemes inevitably collapse and you will lose your money. In Canada, it is a crime to promote a pyramid scheme or even to participate in one.

Ponzi schemes are fraudulent investment operations that work in a similar way to pyramid schemes. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new and well‑to‑do investors by offering higher returns than other investments in the form of short‑term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The schemer usually interacts with all the investors directly, often persuading most of the existing participants to reinvest their money, thereby minimizing the need to bring in new participants as a pyramid scheme will do.

Be cautious, but do not be discouraged from carefully researching business opportunities based on commissions. There are many legitimate multi‑level marketing opportunities where you can legally earn an income from selling genuine products or services.



Look up. Look waaaaaayyyy up.

This is the graphic representation of a pyramid scheme…

an illegal scheme in which you (and often your friends and family) become involved

as the building blocks of something that is supposed to make you a fortune…

by getting you to commit your hard‑earned cash for the promise of a big return.

And not only do you have to commit your money…

you are expected — actually, you are expected to recruit the people around you as well,

getting them to put money into the scheme.

Pyramid schemes, and their cousin, the Ponzi Scheme,

have been around for along time, and they’re usually designed to look pretty slick.

But there’s a problem. They’re built on lies, deception and… well, a lot of hot air.

The scammers make their money by taking money from people they recruit…

people like you, and your cousin Elmo…

and they don’t care when the pyramid falls down, because… they’re history.

Pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes are illegal.

Protect yourself by asking the tough questions:

If I’m not selling a genuine product or service, is participation in this activity legitmate and legal?

If you do have to buy something in order to join a plan,

if you have to buy very large quantities of products, or if you can't return them,

you may be dealing with an illegal pyramid scheme.

Investing and being part of small businesses is perfectly fine, but you MUST do your research,

and you MUST stay away from high‑pressure sales tactics, especially at meetings and seminars.

What goes up… is almost certainly going to come tumbling down.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Protect yourself

Pyramid and Ponzi schemes may be sent to you from family members and people you trust—they might not know that they could be illegal or that they are involved in a scam.
Never commit to anything at high-pressure meetings or seminars.
Don't make any decisions without doing your homework—research the offer being made and seek independent advice before making a decision.
Do some research on all business opportunities that interest you.
Ask yourself
If I am not selling a genuine product or service, is participation in this activity legal?

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Money transfer requests

Money transfer scams are on the rise. Be very careful when someone offers you money to help transfer their funds. Once you send money to someone, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get it back.

What to look for

The Nigerian scam (also called the 419 fraud) has been on the rise since the early‑to‑mid 1990s in Canada. Although many of these sorts of scams originated in Nigeria, similar scams have been started all over the world (particularly in other parts of West Africa and in Asia). These scams are increasingly referred to as "advance fee fraud".

In the classic Nigerian scam, you receive an email or letter from a scammer asking your help to transfer a large amount of money overseas. You are then offered a share of the money if you agree to give them your bank account details to help with the transfer. They will then ask you to pay all kinds of taxes and fees before you can receive your "reward". You will never be sent any of the money, and will lose the fees you paid.

Then there is the scam email that claims to be from a lawyer or bank representative advising that a long‑lost relative of yours has died and left you a huge inheritance. Scammers can tell such genuine sounding stories that you could be tricked into providing personal documents and bank account details so that you can confirm their identity and claim your inheritance. The "inheritance" is likely to be non‑existent and, as well as losing any money you might have paid to the scammer in fees and taxes, you could also risk having your identity stolen.

If you or your business is selling products or services online or through newspaper classifieds, you may be targeted by an overpayment scam. In response to your advertisement, you might receive a generous offer from a potential buyer and accept it. You receive payment by cheque or money order, but the amount you receive is more than the agreed price. The buyer may tell you that the overpayment was simply a mistake or they may invent an excuse, such as extra money to cover delivery charges. If you are asked to refund the excess amount by money transfer, be suspicious. The scammer is hoping that you will transfer the refund before you discover that their cheque or money order was counterfeit. You will lose the transferred money as well as the item if you have already sent it.



A funny thing happens to some people sometimes.

Even the most sensible person can sometimes get fooled into thinking

that what is too good to be true… just MIGHT be true.

And all their logic and judgement fly away… like birds going south for the winter.

The classic example is the scam in which you are “personally” asked by the King

of a deep dark mysterious country (or maybe his brother) to move a few million dollars into your account…

— and told to keep a hefty chunk for your troubles AFTER you pay some taxes and banking fees.

Uh… no. The money will never come… and the scammer profits from those “taxes and charges” you paid him.

In an inheritance scam, the clever crook tells you that a long‑lost relative has left you a huge inheritance,

and if you’d ever so kindly share your intimate personal details and bank account info… the money will be right along.

Uh… no again. Your dead Uncle Waldo may not even exist… and your identity and maybe your money — have been stolen.

Business people should watch out for Overpayment scams, which work on the same basic principle.

A crook pays way too much for an item you’re selling by mail or on line,

then swears the overpayment was an oversight, and asks you to refund the difference.

But when you do the refund before their original cheque has cleared, you will find that it was all a lie…

their original cheque bounces, and your money is gone.

We can never say it enough: If it sounds too good to be true… don’t you think it probably is?

Do your research. Use your judgement.

And check the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre for information on how to protect yourself.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Protect yourself

If you have been approached by someone asking you to transfer money for them, it is probably a scam.
Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
Don't accept a cheque or money order for payment for goods that is more than what you agreed upon. Send it back and ask the buyer to send you payment for the agreed amount before you deliver the goods or services.
Examine the information on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for information on how to protect yourself against money transfer scams.
Ask yourself
Is it really safe to transfer money for someone I do not know?

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Internet scams

A lot of Internet scams take place without the victim even noticing. You can greatly reduce the chances of being scammed on the Internet if you follow some simple precautions.

What to look for

Scammers can use the Internet to promote fraud through unsolicited or junk emails, known as spam. Even if they only get a handful of replies from the millions of emails they send out, it is still worth their while. Be wary of replying, even just to "unsubscribe", because that will give a scammer confirmation that they have reached a real email address.

Any email you receive that comes from a sender you do not know, is not specifically addressed to you, and promises you some benefit is likely to be spam.

Malicious software—also referred to as malware, spyware, key loggers, trojan horses, or trojans—poses online security threats. Scammers try to install this software on your computer so that they can gain access to files stored on your computer and other personal details and passwords.

Scammers use a wide range of tricks to get their software onto your computer. They may trick you into clicking on a link or pop‑up message in a spam email or by getting you to visit a fake website set up solely to infect people's computers.

Phishing scams are all about tricking you into handing over your personal and banking details to scammers. The emails you receive might look and sound legitimate but in reality genuine organizations like a bank or a government authority will never expect you to send your personal information by an email or online.

Scammers can easily copy the logo or even the entire website of a genuine organization. So don't just assume an email you receive is legitimate. If the email is asking you to visit a website to "update", "validate" or "confirm" your account information, be sceptical.

Delete phishing emails. They can carry viruses that can infect your computer. Do not open any attachments or follow any links in phishing emails.

Online auctions and Internet shopping can be a lot of fun and can also help you find good deals. Unfortunately, they also attract scammers.

Scammers will often try to get you to deal outside of online auction sites. They may claim the winner of an auction that you were bidding on has pulled out and offer the item to you. Once you have paid, you will never hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you.



Here are some new words that have crept into our language:




“Malicious pop‑up”!

And how about this one:

Trojan horse…

Yes, the Internet is a beautiful thing…

but it’s full of weird words and devious traps —

and you need to be aware of them, because criminals LOVE the Internet.

Here we go:

Malicious software —

scammers try to install this software on your computer

so they can get access to files with your precious personal information.


Don’t click on links or pop‑ups, especially in an unsolicited, or spam, email.

Stay away… hit delete.

Oh, by the way, Spam is unwanted email…

and it doesn’t come in a can!

Phishing — no pole, no water, no net…

but it’s all about fake, real‑looking emails that appear to come from places you trust — like your bank.

But they’re not.

No REAL trusted institution will EVER ask you for personal info by email.

Don’t take the bait… hit delete.

On‑line auctions and Internet shopping —

after you’ve chosen an item, scammers try to pull you outside the legitimate auction site,

then get your payment information… and disappear.

You lose your set of steak knives… and your money.

Use common sense.

Good auction sites rely on trusted payment processes.

This is the ultimate case of “buyer beware”!

So…. The Internet is a wonderful thing… if you think it through and avoid fraud.

Check out The Little Black Book of Scams.

(Canada Wordmark)

Video Length: 1 minutes, 58 seconds

Protect yourself

If you choose to shop online or participate in online auctions, make sure you know about refund policies and dispute‑handling processes and be careful that you are not overcharged. Also, you may want to use an escrow service, such as PayPal. This service will hold your payment and only release it to the seller once you have confirmed that you received what you paid for. There is usually a small fee for this service. A legitimate bank or financial institution will never ask you to click on a link in an email or send your account details through an email or website.
Never buy from bidders with poor ratings on auction sites, and do your best to ensure that you are only making purchases from genuine shopping sites. Never provide your personal, credit card or account information unless you are certain the site is genuine.
Don't reply to spam emails, even to unsubscribe, and do not click on any links or call any telephone number listed in a spam email. Make sure you have current protective software or get advice from a computer specialist.
If an email or pop-up offers you a product or service that genuinely interests you and it seems reasonable, be sure that you understand all the terms and conditions and costs involved before making a purchase or providing your details.
Ask yourself
By opening this suspect email, will I risk the security of my computer? Are the contact details provided in the email correct? Telephone your bank or financial institution to ask whether the email you received is genuine.

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Mobile phone scams

Mobile phone scams can be difficult to recognize. Be wary of somebody who talks as if they know you or of redialling a missed call from an unknown number—there may be hidden charges.

What to look for

Ringtone scams might attract you with an offer of a free or low‑cost ringtone. What you may not realize is that by accepting the offer, you may actually be subscribing to a service that will keep sending you ringtones—and charging you a premium rate for them. There are many legitimate companies selling ringtones, but there are also scammers who will try to hide the true cost of taking up the offer.

Scammers either don't tell you that your request for the first ringtone is actually a subscription to a ringtone service, or it may be obscured in fine print related to the offer. They also make it difficult for you to stop the service. You have to actively "opt out" of the service to stop the ringtones and the associated charges.

Missed call scams start by scammers calling your phone and hanging up so quickly that you can't answer the call in time. Your phone registers a missed call and you probably won't recognize the number. You may be tempted to call the number to find out who called you. If it is a scam, you will be paying premium rates for the call without knowing.

Text message scams work in a similar way, but through a Short Message Service (SMS). Scammers send you a text message from a number you may not recognize, but it sounds like it is from a friend—for instance, "Hi, it's John. I'm back! When are you free to catch up?" If you reply out of curiosity, you might be charged at premium rate for SMS messages (sometimes as much as $4 for each message sent and/or received).

An SMS contest or SMS trivia scam usually arrives as a text message or in an advertisement and encourages you to take part in a trivia contest for a great prize. All you need to do is answer a certain number of questions correctly. The scammers make money by charging extremely high rates for the messages you send and any further messages they send to you. With trivia scams, the first set of questions will be very easy. This is meant to encourage you to keep playing. However, the last one or two questions that you need to answer to claim your "prize" could be very difficult or impossible to answer correctly.





Mobile phones and smart phones are wonderful things.

But they’re also magnets for crooks and scammers who love to work through texting or SMS.


"Hey — the best ringtones ever!!! And they’re Practically free!"

Nope. Not always.

You might wind up subscribing to a service that will keep

sending ringtones to you at prices that you won’t want to hear about.

Stay with companies you know and trust… or just text "STOP".

"Tell us who won the Stanley Cup in 1921 — and you could win BIG!!"

Uh… no.

Trivia contests may seem like fun at first, but scammers charge high rates or hidden fees for you to participate,

and sometimes make the contest impossible to win.

Final answer? Unless it’s a source you trust, stay away.

Here are two more… and they’re nasty.

Missed call scams are numbers that show up on your phone when scammers purposely hang up before you can answer.

Calling back could cost you plenty.

“Hey it’s me… your best friend BOB!!!!”

Text/SMS scams are messages that look like they’re from someone you know… but they’re not.

BOTH of these can cost you a lot of money and you get charged premium rates.

If you don’t know the person or the number… don’t respond.

So…. Learn how to put the brakes on phone scams and avoid fraud.

Check out The Little Black Book of Scams.

(Canada Wordmark)

Video Length: 1 minute, 39 seconds

Protect yourself

Text "STOP" to end unwanted text messages or to end unwanted subscriptions.
Never reply to text messages offering you free ringtones or missed calls from numbers that you do not recognize.
Don't call or text phone numbers beginning with 1-900 unless you are aware of the cost involved, and carefully read any terms and conditions when texting short codes.
Read all the terms and conditions of an offer very carefully. Services offering free or very cheap products often have hidden costs.
Ask yourself
Do I know how to stop any subscription service I want to sign up to?

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Health and medical scams

Medical scams prey on human suffering. They offer solutions where none exist or promise to simplify complex health treatments.

What to look for

Miracle cure scams offer a range of products and services that can appear to be legitimate alternative medicines, usually promising quick and effective remedies for serious medical conditions. The treatments claim to be effective against a very wide range of ailments and are often promoted using testimonials from people who have used the product or service and have been "cured".

Weight loss scams promise dramatic weight loss with little or no effort. This type of scam may involve an unusual or restrictive diet, revolutionary exercise or "fat‑busting" devices, or breakthrough products such as pills, patches or creams. The products are promoted with the use of false claims such as "lose 10 kilos in 10 days " or " lose weight while you sleep", and often require large advance payments or that you enter into a long‑term contract to participate in the program.

Fake online pharmacies use the Internet and spam emails to offer drugs and medicine at very cheap prices and/or without the need for a prescription from a doctor. If you use such a service and you actually do receive the products in response to your order, there is no guarantee that they are the real thing.

There are legitimate online pharmacies. These businesses will have their full contact details listed on their website and will also require a valid prescription before they send out any medicine that requires one.



When you or a relative isn’t feeling well, or has a serious chronic health condition,

you’d give anything to find a way to make them healthy again.

That’s absolutely natural.

Unfortunately, some of the nastiest scammers in the business prey on your concern,

or your desire for a cure —

whether it’s for losing weight, or a “miracle cure” for serious conditions like cancer.

Scammers promise what seem like legitimate alternative medicines and remedies,

and often show you testimonials from supposed patients who have been “cured”.

They’re bogus — and they are a despicable way to exploit people who just want to get better.

Weight loss crooks promise you dramatic weight loss with little or no effort,

usually through the use of pills, patches, creams, revolutionary exercises or devices, or bizarre diets.

Not only are most of these miracles pure nonsense, many of them can actually put your health at significant risk.

Fake on‑line pharmacies offer you drastic reductions on medicines —

and they specialize in ones that you really can only get with a physician’s prescription.

And sometimes, you find it impossible to cancel the hidden charges that keep coming from "free" trial offers.

Usually, you just lose your money, but if you actually GET the medications,

there’s no guarantee they’re the real thing — which might put your health even more at isk.

Your health is serious business. Health care has to begin with your health care team —

the doctors and nurses and pharmacists licensed to practice here in Canada.

Anybody else… could really hurt you or the people you love.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 2 minutes, 04 seconds

Protect yourself

There are no magic pills, miracle cures or safe options for serious medical conditions or rapid weight loss.
Never commit to anything under pressure.
Don't trust an unsubstantiated claim about medicines, supplements or other treatments. Consult your healthcare professional.
Check for published medical and research papers to verify the accuracy of the claims made by the promoters.
Ask yourself
If this really is a miracle cure, wouldn't my healthcare professional have told me about it?

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Emergency scams

Emergency scams target grandparents and play upon their emotions to rob them of their money.

What to look for

In the typical scenario of an emergency scam, a grandparent receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. Callers go on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in a car accident, are having trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money.

You may get a call from two people, one pretending to be your grandchild and the other pretending to be either a police officer or a lawyer. Your "grandchild" asks you questions during the call, getting you to volunteer personal information.

Callers say that they don't want other family members to find out what has happened. You will be asked to wire some money through a money transfer company. Often, victims don't verify the story until after the money has been sent.

In some cases, scammers pretend to be your old neighbour or a friend of the family, but for the most part, the emergency scam is directed at grandparents.



Of all the scams in the Little Black Book of Scams,

we’re pretty sure that Emergency scams wins the "Most Despicable" prize.

Often targeting grandparents, and playing on their emotions to rob them of money,

scammers phone the innocent senior, claiming to be one of their grandchildren…

and saying, usually with a high level of emotion,

that they are in some kind of serious trouble and need money immediately.

Techniques include saying they’ve been in a car accident or are stuck in a foreign country.

To make the scam even more disturbing and realistic,

the grandparent often also receives a call from a fake police officer or lawyer.

All of this is carefully orchestrated by the scammers who are talented actors,

and it’s all designed to get YOU to make a decision based on emotion, and not logic.

Emergency scams are all about stealing money… and when emotions run high,

people too often give out their banking information

or actually go through the process of wiring money to the scammer.

Always ask if the call makes sense…

if the person on the phone really behaves like the relative you know and love.

Take the time to call other relatives to verify the story before doing anything.

Protect yourself AND your loved ones from emergency scams.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 1 minute, 42 seconds

Protect yourself

Scammers are counting on the fact that you will want to act quickly to help your loved ones in an emergency.
Never send money to anyone you don't know and trust. Verify the person's identity before you take any steps to help.
Don't give out any personal information to the caller.
Ask the person questions that only your loved one would be able to answer. Call the child's parents or friends to verify the story.
Ask yourself
Does the caller's story make sense?

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Dating and romance scams

Despite the many legitimate dating websites operating in Canada, there are many dating and romance scams as well. Dating and romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic and compassionate side.

What to look for

Some dating and romance scams work by setting up a dating website where you pay for each email or message you send and receive. The scammer will try to hook you in by continuing to send you vague‑sounding emails filled with talk of love or desire. The scammer might also send emails filled with details of their home country or town that do not refer to you much at all. These are attempts to keep you writing back and paying money for use of the scammer's dating website.

Even on a legitimate dating site, you might be approached by a scammer—perhaps someone who claims to have a very sick family member or who is in the depths of despair (often these scammers claim to be from Russia or Eastern Europe). After they have sent you a few messages, and maybe even a glamorous photo, you will be asked (directly or more subtly) to send them money to help their situation. Some scammers even arrange to meet with you, in the hope that you give them presents or money—and then they disappear.

In other cases, scammers will try to build a friendship with you, perhaps even sending you flowers or other small gifts. After building a relationship, the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money they need to transfer out of their country, or that they want to share with you. They will then ask for your banking details or money for an administrative fee or tax that they claim needs to be paid to free up the money.



Ahh… romance. Ain’t it grand?

When love is in the air, everything seems a bit brighter…

and often, people say goodbye to logic and judgement!

You see, Cupid has some cousins… and these guys are not good guys.

Some dating and romance scams work by setting up dating web sites

that make you pay for each email or message you send and receive.

Scammers will then attempt to keep you writing back, and paying money for the use of the web site.

Even on a legitimate dating site, you might fall in love with a person from a far‑away country

who happens to have a very convincing story about a sick family member.

As romance blossoms, the idea of sending them money to help their situation just happens to pop up.

Others ask you to help them get out of the country they’re living in by sending a large amount of money.

Between the virtual hugs and kisses, they’ll ask for your banking details…

and your bank account — and your heart — will be broken.

When love is in the air… we’re vulnerable.

We want to believe the best about those we communicate with on line or even through letters.

But over and over again, it’s been proven that your romance will end up being all about your money

getting into the hands of someone who is definitely not… your type.

Check web site addresses carefully and make sure the sites are legitimate.

Never send money or give financial information to anyone.

Don’t let Cupid’s cousins break YOUR heart.

With love, from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 1 minute, 53 seconds

Protect yourself

Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites.
Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
Don't give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online.
Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating websites.
Ask yourself
Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?

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Charity scams

Charity scams take advantage of people's generosity and kindness by asking for donations to a fake charity or by impersonating a real charity.

What to look for

Charity scams involve scammers collecting money by pretending to be a real charity. The scammers can approach you in many different ways—on the street, at your home, over the phone or on the Internet. Emails and collection boxes may even be marked with the logos of genuine charities.

Often, the scammer will exploit a recent natural disaster or famine that has been in the news. Other scammers play on your emotions by pretending to be from charities that help children who are ill.

Scammers can try to pressure you to give a donation and refuse to provide details about the charity, such as their address or their contact details. In other cases, they may simply provide false information.

Not only do these scams cost people money; they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes. All registered charities in Canada are overseen by the Canada Revenue Agency and listed in its database. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information about the organizations that interest you. If the charity is genuine and you want to make a donation, get the charity's contact details from the phone book or a trusted website.

If you do not want to donate any money, or you are happy with how much you may have donated to charities already, simply ignore the email or letter, hang up the phone or say no to the person at your door. You do not have to give any money at all.



Health, environment, arts, anti‑poverty, international aid —

there are literally hundreds of thousands of worthwhile causes out there.

And it’s our natural instinct to help out by giving.

But in the slippery world of charity scams, crooks prey on your generosity

and your desire to help, pouncing on what they think is your “weak spot”.

They will ask you to give to non‑existent charities, or they will go to great lengths to imitate legitimate ones.

They are especially devious in times of trouble, asking you to give to

the latest earthquake or flood or other disaster, through charities that seem for real, but aren’t.

Here’s what to watch for: High‑pressure phone tactics,

door‑to‑door canvassers who are pushy,

and who can’t prove they’re with a CRA‑registered charity,

and unsolicited emails.

Watch out also for call centres who want your personal information —

your address, and most especially your banking information or a credit card number. Don’t give them anything!!

Here’s the bottom line.

Only YOU should be in control of your giving.

That means YOU choose who gets your money, how much, and when.

If you have the slightest suspicion, check the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of REGISTERED Canadian charities…

… and remember that you –that’s right, YOU — have the right to say NO.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 1 minute, 47 seconds

Protect yourself

If you have any doubts at all about the person asking for money, do not give them any cash, credit card or bank account details.
Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
If in doubt, approach an aid organization directly to make a donation or offer support.
Search the Canada Revenue Agency database to check that the charity that has approached you is genuine.
Ask yourself
How and to whom would I like to make a contribution?

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Job and employment scams

Job and employment scams target people looking for a job. They often promise a lot of income—sometimes they even guarantee it—for little or no effort.

What to look for

Work‑from‑home scams are often promoted through spam emails or advertisements online or in newspaper ads. Most of these advertisements are not real job offers. Many of them are fronts for illegal moneylaundering activity or pyramid schemes.

You might get an email offering a job where you use your bank account to receive and pass on payments for a foreign company. Or you might be offered a job as a "secret shopper" hired to test the services of a chequecashing or a money transfer company. Some "job offers" promise that you will receive a percentage commission for each payment you pass on. Sometimes, scammers are just after your bank account details so they can access your account. They might also send you a counterfeit cheque along with instructions for you to cash the cheque and transfer a portion of the sum over a money transfer service.

A guaranteed employment or income scam claims to guarantee you either a job or a certain level of income. The scammers usually contact you by spam email and the offers often involve the payment of an up‑front fee for a "business plan", certain start‑up materials or software.

There is a range of scams promoted as business opportunities. You may be required to make an upfront payment (for something that does not work or is not what you expected) or to recruit other people to the scheme (refer to pyramid schemes on page 4).



Face it…

we all know that you have to work hard to make money.

But don’t you secretly wish there was a shortcut to money and wealth?

Well, that’s where crooks jump in with employment scams:

making big promises to people looking for jobs …

taking their money…

and delivering…


If you hear this —

"Make a fortune without leaving your living room!!!"

it could be a front for an illegal money laundering activity or a pyramid scheme.

Either way… it’s almost certainly a fairy tale.

If you hear this —

"Just invest a few hundred dollars up front and we’ll set you up for life!"…

what do you think the scammers are really after?

Yep… your cash.

Once they’ve got it… you’ve got a garage full of useless products… and they’re history.

And if you hear this ‑

"You're our secret shopper!"


Crooks may ask you to deposit into your bank account cheques they send you,

take a "commission", and then send money back to them through a money transfer service.

Problem is, the cheques are fake….

and your bank account takes the hit.

There’s no shortcut to wealth.

Do your research.

Hang on to your personal information,

and really look hard at any job that seems too good to be true…

because it almost certainly is.

Learn more — check out The Little Black Book of Scams.

(Canada Wordmark)

Video Length: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Protect yourself

There are no shortcuts to wealth—the only people that make money are the scammers.
Never send your bank account or credit card details to anybody you do not know and trust. If you cash the cheque and it turns out to be counterfeit, you could be held accountable for the entire monetary loss by your bank.
Don't make any decisions without carefully researching the offer. Seek independent advice before making a decision.
Beware of products or schemes claiming to guarantee income and job offers requiring payment of an upfront fee or sending money through a money transfer service. Make sure any franchise business opportunity is legitimate.
Ask yourself
Did I get all the details in writing before paying or signing anything?

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Small business scams

Scams that target small businesses can come in a variety of forms—from bills for advertising or directory listings that were never ordered to dubious office supply offers.

What to look for

Small business operators and individuals with their own Internet sites continue to be confused and caught by unsolicited letters warning them that their Internet domain name is due to expire and must be renewed, or offering them a new domain name similar to their current one.

If you have registered a domain name, be sure to carefully check any domain name renewal notices or invoices that you receive. While the notice could be genuine, it could also be from another company trying to sign you up, or it could be from a scammer.

  • Check that the renewal notice matches your current domain name exactly. Look out for small differences—for example, ".com" instead of ".ca" or missing letters in the URL address.
  • Check that the renewal notice comes from the company with which you originally registered your domain name.
  • Check your records for the actual expiry date for your existing domain name.

A directory listing or unauthorized advertising scam tries to bill a business for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business directory, or for an online directory listing.

The scam might come as a proposal for a subscription disguised as an update of an existing listing in a business directory. You might also be led to believe that you are responding to an offer for a free listing when in fact it is an order for a listing requiring later payment.

Another common approach used by scammers is to call a firm asking to confirm details of an advertisement that they claim has already been booked. The scammer might quote a genuine entry or advertisement your business has had in a different publication or directory to convince you that you really did use the scammer's product.

Be wary of order forms offering advertising opportunities in business directories. These order forms may look like they originate from a well‑known supplier of directory advertising, when they don't.

An office supply scam involves you receiving and being charged for goods that you did not order. These scams often involve goods or services that you regularly order—for example, paper, printing supplies, maintenance supplies or advertising.

You might receive a phone call from someone falsely claiming to be your "regular supplier", telling you that the offer is a "special" or "available for a limited time", or pretending to only confirm your address or existing order. If you agree to buy any of the supplies offered to you, they will often be overpriced and of bad quality.



Being a small independent businessperson is a little like setting out on a great voyage of discovery!

It’s a big adventure, but you’ve got to watch out for scammers,

who may try to jump into your boat and snack on you…

in different ways relating to business communications and the things you need to run your business, too.

For example…

W. W. Whaaat?

Because you don’t think about it often,

the uncertainty around renewing your internet domain name creates an opportunity for crooks…

.. who figure out when you’re about to renew, and tell you they’re handling it.

Be sure to verify who you are dealing with.

Toner Madness!

Finally, from paper clips to accounting services,

there are a ton of bogus companies and services out there that may try to convince you you’re already a regular customer.

Beware of pressure, promises, and pompous people on the phone.

It’s right here on page 976!:

Fake ads and directory listings are big business for scammers,

who present you with an invoice that looks real… but you don’t get what you expect.

Take a really close look — watch out for scams!

If you’re in business, protect your assets.

Don’t give up your information, get it in writing, and ask for proof — every time!

Check out The Little Black Book of Scams.

(Canada Wordmark)

Video Length: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Protect yourself

Make sure that the people processing the invoices or answering telephone calls are aware of these scams. They will most often be the point of contact for the scammers. Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice.
Never give out or update any information about your business unless you know what the information will be used for.
Don't agree to a business proposal over the phone—always ask for an offer in writing. Limit the number of people in your business that have access to funds and have the authority to approve purchases.
Effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing these scams from succeeding. Having clearly defined procedures for the verification, payment and management of accounts and invoices is an effective defence against these types of scams.
Ask yourself
If a caller claims that I have ordered or authorized something and I do not think it sounds right, shouldn't I ask for proof?

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Service scams

Many Canadians are being targeted by individuals claiming to offer reduced rates or deals for various services.

What to look for

These scams typically involve individuals that make offers for telecommunications, Internet, finance, medical and energy services. This category of scams may also include offers such as extended warranties, insurance, and door‑to‑door sales.

The two most reported service scams targeting Canadians are the antivirus software scam and credit card interest rate reduction scams.

The scammers involved in the antivirus software scam promise to repair your computer over the Internet. This can involve the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card.

Downloading software from an unknown source or allowing someone to remotely access your computer is risky. Scammers could use malicious software to capture your personal information such as user names and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.

Everyone likes to get a deal and scammers know this. The people behind credit card interest rate reduction scams often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest. The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now.

You might receive an automated call, prompting you to "press 1" and provide personal information, such as your date of birth and credit card number. You will also be asked to pay a fee up front for the service. The scammers will use this information to make purchases on your credit card or to access cash advances.



Narrator: Ever heard this one?

Telephone voice: Hello? Mrs Smith?

I’m sorry to tell you, but your COMPUTER is DEATHLY ILL!

It’s on its LAST LEGS! It’s going to die in seconds and you will lose ALL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION!!!

Uhhh… can we just take control of your computer for a minute to...fix it?

Narrator: Or how about THIS one?

Telephone voice: Mrs. Smith? This is your lucky day!!

I’m going to singlehandedly lower the interest rate on your credit card.

You’ll save thousands and thousands of dollars…

… if you just verify your credit card number by giving it to me right now!!

Narrator: From bogus extended warranties to door to door sales to high‑pressure sales tactics used to scare people

about everything from furnaces to computers to home security, service scams are committed by crooks

trying to get you to believe that a stranger on the phone…

… or a stranger who comes to the door whom you’ve never met…

from an organization you don’t recognize… should be trusted.

You’d think that would never work.

And yet innocent people get burned all the time, compromising their personal information… and losing their money.

How can YOU keep from getting scammed?

Here are two important things:

If you're interested in an offer, ask for ID and KNOW who you're dealing with.

And remember: Only your EXISTING service provider can offer you better rates for their services.

Be wary of strangers pressuring you by offering deals for a limited time.

And always ask yourself — If I give my information to this stranger… am I putting myself at risk?

If the answer is even mayb e… say no. Hang up. Close the door.

Watch out for service scams.

A message from the Competition Bureau of Canada… and the Little Black Book of Scams.

Video Length: 2 minutes, 3 seconds

Protect yourself

Only your service provider can offer you a better rate or price for their services.
Be wary of unsolicited calls from people offering a great deal "for a limited time only".
Don't give out your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call and the number came from a trusted source.
If a caller claims to represent your bank, telephone your bank to ask whether the offer you received is genuine.
Ask yourself
By offering up this information, am I putting myself at risk?

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Handy hints to protect yourself

Protect your identity

  • Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.
  • Destroy personal information: don't just throw it out. You should cut up or shred old bills, statements or cards—for example, credit cards and ATM cards.
  • Treat your personal details like you would treat money: don't leave them lying around for others to take.

Money matters

  • Never send money to anyone that you don't know and trust.
  • Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings.
  • "Jobs" asking you to simply use your own bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money‑laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence.
  • Avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you do not know.

The face‑to‑face approach

  • If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification. You do not have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.
  • Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested in what a door‑to‑door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer.
  • Contact the Competition Bureau, provincial and territorial consumer affairs offices or the Better Business Bureau of your province or territory if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door. See "Getting Help and Reporting a Scam" for contact information.

Telephone business

  • If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company yourself.
  • Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognize. Be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 1‑900. These may be charged at a higher rate than other numbers and can be very expensive.

Email offers

  • Never reply to a spam email, even to unsubscribe—often, this just serves to "verify" your address to scammers. The best course of action is to delete any suspicious emails without opening them.
  • Turn off the "viewing pane" as just viewing the email may send a verification notice to the sender that yours is a valid email address.
  • Legitimate banks and financial institutions will never ask you for your account details in an email or ask you to click on a link in an email to access your account.
  • Never call a telephone number or trust other contact details that you see in a spam email.

Internet business

  • Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept current. If you are unsure, seek the help of a computer professional.
  • If you want to access a website, use a bookmarked link to the website or type the address of the website into the browser yourself. Never follow a link in an email.
  • Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses very similar to legitimate websites.
  • Beware of websites offering "free" downloads (such as music, adult content, games and movies). Downloading these products may install harmful programs onto your computer without you knowing.
  • Avoid clicking on pop‑up ads—this could lead to harmful programs being installed on your computer.
  • Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine.
  • Never send your personal, credit card or online banking details through an email.
  • Avoid using public computers (at libraries or Internet cafes) to do your Internet banking or online shopping.
  • When using public computers, clear the history and cache of the computer when you finish your session.
  • Be careful when using software on your computer that auto‑completes online forms. This can give Internet scammers easy access to your personal and credit card details.
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess—for example, passwords that include letters and numbers. You should also regularly change passwords.
  • When buying anything online, print out copies of all transactions and only pay via a secure site. If using an Internet auction site, note the ID numbers involved and read all the security advice on the site first.

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Scams and you: What to do if you get scammed!

Canadian authorities may not always be able to take action against scams, even if it seems like a scammer might have broken the law.

Reducing the damage

Although it may be hard to recover any money that you have lost to a scam, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage and avoid becoming a target for a follow‑up scam. The more quickly you act, the greater your chance of reducing your losses.

Report a scam. By reporting the scam to authorities, they may be able to warn other people about the scam and minimize the chances of the scam spreading further. You should also warn your friends and family of any scams that you come across. Details on how to report a scam are provided at the end of this publication.

If you have been tricked into signing a contract or buying a product or service

Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office and consider getting independent advice to examine your options: there may be a cooling‑off period or you may be able to negotiate a refund.

If you think someone has gained access to your online account, telephone banking account or credit card details

Call your financial institution immediately so they can suspend your account and limit the amount of money you lose. Credit card companies may also be able to perform a "charge back" (reverse the transaction) if they believe that your credit card was billed fraudulently.

Do not use contact details that appear in emails or on websites that you are suspicious of—they will probably be fake and lead you to a scammer. You can find legitimate contact details in the phone book, an account statement or on the back of your ATM card.

If the scam relates to your health

Stop taking any pills or substances that you are not sure about. See a doctor or other qualified medical professional as soon as you can. Be sure to tell them about the treatment that the scammer sold (take along any substances, including their packaging). Also tell them if you have stopped any treatment that you were taking before the scam.

If you have sent money to someone that you think may be a scammer

If you sent your credit card details, follow the instructions in the section opposite.

If you sent money through an electronic funds transfer (over the Internet), contact your financial institution immediately. If they have not already processed the transfer, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent a cheque, contact your financial institution immediately. If the scammer hasn't already cashed your cheque, they may be able to cancel it.

If you sent money through a wire service (such as Western Union or Money Gram), contact the wire service immediately. If you are very quick, they may be able to stop the transfer.

If you have been tricked by a door‑to‑door seller

You may be protected by laws that provide you with a "cooling‑off" period, during which you can cancel an agreement or contract that you signed. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office for advice about door‑to‑door sales laws.

If you have been scammed using your computer

If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus or other malicious software is still on your computer. Run a full system check using reliable security software.

If you do not have security software (such as virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a computer professional can help you choose what you need.

Scammers may have also gained access to your online passwords. Change these using a secure computer.

If the scam involve s your mobile phone

Call your telephone provider and let them know what has happened.

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Getting help and reporting a scam

The best agency to contact depends on where you live and what type of scam is involved.

If you think you have spotted a scam or have been targeted by a scam, there are a number of government and law enforcement agencies in Canada that you can contact for advice or to make a report. This may help you and prevent others from being ripped off by scam operators.

Canadian Anti–Fraud Centre

The Competition Bureau's Information Centre

Local scams

Contact your local consumer affairs office

Your local consumer affairs office is best placed to investigate scams that appear to come from within your own province or territory. A list of provincial and territorial consumer affairs offices can be found in the Canadian Consumer Handbook on the Office of Consumer Affairs website.

Financial and investment scams

Contact Canadian Securities Administrators

Financial scams involve sales offers or promotions about financial products and services such as superannuation, managed funds, financial advice, insurance, credit or deposit accounts.

Investment scams involve share buying, foreign currencies trading, offshore investments, Ponzi schemes or prime bank investment schemes.

You can report financial and investment scams to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) or to your local securities regulator.


Reporting banking and credit card scams

Contact your bank or financial institution

As well as reporting these scams to the Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre, you should alert your bank or financial institution about any suspicious correspondence that you receive about your account. They can advise you on what to do next.

Make sure that the telephone number you use is from the phone book, your account statement or the back of your credit or ATM card.

Reporting spam emails and SMS

Many scams arrive by email and SMS. Visit for information on Canada's anti‑spam legislation.

Fraudulent (or "phishing") emails requesting personal details can also be reported to the bank, financial institution or other organization concerned (be sure to use a phone number or email address that did not appear in the email to make your report).

Reporting fraud, theft and other crimes

Contact the police

Many scams that may breach consumer protection laws (those enforced by the Competition Bureau, other government and law enforcement agencies) may also breach the fraud provisions of the Criminal Code.

If you are the victim of fraud—you have suffered a loss because of someone's dishonesty or deception—you should consider contacting your local police (particularly if the amount involved is significant).

You should definitively contact the police if you have had your property stolen or have been threatened or assaulted by a scammer.

You may also contact one of the following organizations:

Canadian Council of Better Business Bureau

Canada Revenue Agency—Charities Directorate

Your local police, credit card companies, banks, and provincial records offices.

Credit bureaus can put a fraud alert on your account, which will alert lenders and creditors of potential fraud:

Equifax: 1‑800‑465‑7166
TransUnion: 1‑866‑525‑0262

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