4 Common Scams In Canada To Watch Out For & How To Know If Something Fishy Is Going On

Anyone who has ever owned a phone in Canada probably knows what it’s like to receive a scam call.

Maybe it’s someone calling you to say you’re wanted for a serious crime, that your SIN number has been compromised, or something even more bizarre.

That’s why the Canadian government has compiled a list of the most common scams in the country, what they look or sound like, and how best to deal with them.

And with new scams being invented every day, it’s always good to know the hallmarks of some suspicious activity.

Pretending to be Service Canada

A common scam people use to try to obtain personal information is to pose as Service Canada officials.

In doing so, they often do things that a real Service Canada officer would never do, such as: For example, making unsolicited phone calls or requesting personal information such as your name, phone number, bank account number, and more.

Service Canada will only ever contact you through the channels you have signed up for and will only make unexpected calls when “carrying Canadian government services”, but these instances are very rare.

When in doubt, call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) and ask what the person who originally contacted you was talking about. That’s the best way to check if it’s real.

Impersonate a CRA officer

Another common scam is someone attempting to pose as a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) official.

Some telltale signs that the call or email is a scam are asking for payment with a cryptocurrency (like bitcoin), Interac E-Transfer, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards.

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It is also suspicious if they are aggressive or threaten you with arrest or police action.

Note that the real CRA may ask for personal information like your birthday, SIN and more to verify your identity, but will never pressure you to take immediate action or charge a fee.

And of course, you can always check with the CRA to make sure the right people are contacting you.

Targeting newcomers to Canada

The third largest type of scam specifically targets newcomers to the country.

People newly arrived in Canada should be suspicious of emails asking for money or personal information, phone calls saying you’ve won a contest you didn’t enter, or at Phone calls or emails saying you have a computer virus.

In addition, Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will never call you and ask you to pay fines, threaten you with deportation or arrest, ask for information you have not previously given them, or force you on threaten.

If you think you’ve received a fraudulent call, text or email, ask for the caller’s name and then hang up. You should then contact the IRCC call center and verify that the call was genuine.

Impersonate a CBSA

And finally, you could be contacted by someone claiming to be from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

A few things to know if you think you’ve been called by the CBSA is that they will never ask for your SIN or credit card number or any other personal information, or ask for money – by phone, email or text.

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In addition, the CBSA will never contact you and ask you to pay duties or taxes on a package. But they might call you to sort out the shipping details.

Normally your postman or courier will contact you if you need to pay for something.

It’s also good to know that apps like ArriveCAN are free to use and obtaining an Electronic Travel Authorization, which some foreigners require, costs as little as $7.

It should also be mentioned that this is not an exhaustive list. New scams are popping up all the time, so it’s important to be vigilant and trust your gut.

If something is wrong, it could be because it is!

And if you are the victim of a scam or scam, you can report it to Canada’s Fraud Prevention Center.

So keep your eyes peeled Canada and when in doubt hang up because nobody wants to be scammed.

The cover image of this article was used for illustration purposes only.

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