Protect yourself online

Identity theft refers to acquiring and collecting someone else's personal information for criminal purposes. If used insecurely, the internet can victimize consumers through a range of different scams. Familiarize yourself with the common online scams below to protect yourself:

Phishing

  • Scammers impersonate legitimate companies by email, and lure consumers to share personal and private information.
  • Emails often request login credentials, personal or financial information to rectify "urgent problems."
  • Since the email looks like it is from a known business, victims have a false sense of security and end up providing their information to scammers.

Loan scams

  • Online loan scams can result in identity theft and loss of funds.
  • Victims share their personal and banking information believing it is part of the application process.
  • Once approved for a loan, scammers request advance payment to secure the loan, which is illegal.
  • Confirm the lender is a legitimate company before sharing personal information via online applications.

Counterfeit

  • Fraudsters impersonating legitimate retail websites and sell counterfeit goods at drastically reduced prices.
  • Victims who visit counterfeit sites and submit their credit cards for payment are at risk of future unauthorized charges, viruses, and identity theft (from the personal information provided for the purchase).

Investment scams

  • Consumers who buy online investments are subject to financial loss if the sites viewed are fake.
  • Binary options are a type of investment that resembles all or nothing stake.
  • Victims who buy binary options run the risk of having their identity and finances stolen.
  • It's against regulations for any securities company to sell binary options in Canada.

Other notable online scams include

  • Wire fraud
  • Rental scams
  • Prize scams
  • Extortion scams
  • Romance scams
  • [Sale of] merchandise scams
  • Vacation scams

Learn more about these scams and their warning signs.

Warning signs - How to protect yourself

  • Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information
  • Contact your financial institution immediately and report your suspicions
  • Check for the embedded hyperlink in the suspicious email by hovering your mouse over the link to verify the address
  • Do not click on any attachments; they can contain viruses and spyware
  • Beware of unsolicited emails from individuals or organizations prompting you to click on an attachment or link
  • Contact Equifax and Transunion to place fraud alerts on your name if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft

Were you a victim?

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

Competition Bureau of Canada
Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358

Ontario Provincial Police
Toll-free: 1-888-310-1122

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Toll-free: 1-866-461-3222

Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)


Fraud: Recognize, report and stop it!

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