Fraud Prevention

Bureau News

Fraud Prevention

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.

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.

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.

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

HTML Version

If you think you may have been a vicitim of fraud, click here to report it.


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