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

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam

How it happens: You receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). They tell you that you owe tax money and the police are coming to arrest you if you don’t hand over your credit card information or do what they say immediately. The Government of Canada has information on how to protect yourself from CRA scams, HERE.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the CRA or another government agency, the Government of Canada recommends that you:

    • Write down the caller’s name, work section and office location. Tell them you want to verify their identity before going any further. Legitimate government workers will respect and respond to this request. If they don’t, hang up.
    • If the caller gives you this information, call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 to find out if the person calling is an employee calling with a legitimate issue.
    • Call 211 to confirm government agencies and contact information.

Different versions of this scam may be from someone claiming they are from your bank or insurance company, saying you owe money or offering you a special deal or rate. They want you to give them your personal information such as your credit card or driver’s license immediately. If this happens: take down the caller’s information and call the place back with a number you have found yourself and you know is legitimate.

Remember, if you are being pressured or threatened to hand over money or personal information, it is likely a scam.  Hang up the phone. Unsure? Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501.

Grandparent or Emergency Scam

How it happens: You receive a call or email from someone who says they are a relative who is in trouble and needs money immediately. They could be pretending to be a sick grandchild, or another close relative. Remember that scammers want to access your money or information immediately, and pressure tactics are very common. If the call has these elements, it is likely a scam. 

Charity Scam

How it happens: You receive a call or email asking to donate to a specific cause. These are very common during a humanitarian disaster (such as a war, or earthquake). Donating is a good thing, BUT you need to be sure your money is going to the right place and not a fraudster.  If you want to make a donation, find out which charities are legitimate by calling 211. After a natural disaster, 211 and many media organizations will list legitimate places to donate to. You can also look up registered charities on the Government of Canada’s website, 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.

Investment Scams and Pyramid Schemes

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.

RESOURCE: Do Not Call List  

To reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, you can register for the National Do Not Call List. This is a free service and your phone number will stay on it indefinitely.

There are many ways you can register:

  • Online:
  • Call: 1-866-580- DNCL (3625)
  • TTY device: 1-888-362-5889
  • Fax: 1-888-362-5329