Here are common Internet Scams. They can also happen in other ways (such as over the Phone).
You can find out about other scams, HERE.

Romance or Catfishing 

How it Happens: This is the most profitable scam and it can happen online or in person. It happens when you meet someone online and they claim to fall in love with you. In the United States in 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams — a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. The median reported loss was $2,600, and, for people over 70, it was $10,000.
Signs your romantic interest is really a scammer include:
  • They get in some kind of trouble and need you to send them money. Often this happens  more than once
  • Their photo looks like it may be a stock photo
  • They don’t live in the same country as you
W5 produced a series about the ‘Big Business of Romance Fraud’, which you can watch, HERE

Advance Fee for a Prize

How it Happens: You receive a phone call or an email stating you have won a prize, but you need to pay a fee in order to collect the prize. Legitimate prizes do not require a fee to claim them. Also, you can not win a prize if you have not entered a contest.


How it Happens: This can happen if you visit an adult-themed website. If the website has malware (malicious software) on it, it is possible a scammer can access your computer and all the information (such as passwords and account information) stored on your computer as well. At times, they can even access the camera on your computer to record you while you are on your computer. The scammer then uses the fact they have access to your images and passwords to extort money from you in exchange for them.The best way to avoid malware or viruses from getting on your computer is to install anti-malware or anti-virus software on your computer. It is also common to receive an email stating that someone knows you visited a porn site and used your camera to capture you watching it. Money is requested or else the video will be turned over to your family and friends. This email is often a scam and should be deleted immediately.

Account Information Update

How it Happens: You receive an email from a bank or other company stating they need to update your account information. You may or may not have an account at the bank they are claiming to be from. Do not reply to the email or click on any links. If you think your bank may want to update your contact information, look up the number for your bank (it is on the back of your bank card) and call the bank yourself.

Online Shopping / Selling

How it Happens:
#1. Selling an Item Online:
The buyer overpays for it, by cheque. Later, they contact you and claim they overpaid in error, and ask you to send them the money back in a way that’s not traceable. You realize the original payment is a fake and you’ve lost your item and the money.
If you sell items online, make sure you have received the money you are promised immediately and don’t send any money back to a seller. It is best to receive payments by cash or by e-transfer.
#2. Buying an item online:
You purchase an item, and you do not receive what you pay for. The Government of Ontario has tips for making safe online purchases, which you can read about, HERE. Some useful tips for safe online shopping the Government of Ontario advises include:

    • Become familiar with the website you are using. Their contact information should be easily available and include: the business name, address, phone number and email address. It is better to deal with businesses that are located in Ontario, when possible.
    • Read customer reviews of the product and the company before you purchase the item.
    • Print or save all receipts, invoices and agreements related to your purchase.
    • Before you buy, be sure you know the full cost, including taxes, shipping, handling and duties.
    • When you enter your credit card information online, be sure it is on a protected server. For more information on how to tell if a website is secure, see below.
    • Do not use public WiFi, such as at the Public Library or at a coffee shop, to buy online as these networks are not secure.
    • Never enter your credit card information in a pop up message that comes on your screen. Real businesses do not do transactions this way.

Investment Scams

How it Happens: You are told about an investment opportunity that offers a great return on a short term investment. Or you are offered a chance to pay to join a money making venture. You make money by getting other people to join the venture. This latter is called a pyramid scheme and it is illegal in Canada. There are many legitimate opportunities where you can invest money. The RCMP suggests the following tips to prevent investment scams:

Prevention tips:

    • If you are feeling pressured to join an investment opportunity at a business meeting, it is likely a scam. Remember pressure and threats are a common factor in scams.
    • Do your homework, check with the Ontario Securities Commission to find out about your Investment advisor.
    • Be cautious if you are being asked to wire a large amount of money to another country.
    • If the opportunity sounds too good to be true with a higher return than normal it is likely a scam.