Fraud Prevention – Tips to Protect Yourself

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Tips to recognize a scam claiming to be from Service Canada or 1 800 O-Canada

Many frauds in Canada attempt to mimic real federal government services to gain access to your personal and financial information.

You should be careful if any person claiming to be a Service Canada or 1 800 O-Canada employee tries to contact you. It is not common to be contacted by the federal government. A fraudster could try to:

  • requests for personal information (often times this could be Social Insurance Number, credit card number, bank account number or passport number) by telephone, email or text.
  • calls that attempt to complete a financial transaction (such as messages requesting to click on hyperlinks to deposit benefits or to pay taxes)

Emails, text messages, letters and calls (including recorded messages) may be fraudulent.

  • 1 800 O-Canada is a general information service and does not usually make unsolicited attempts to contact Canadians.
  • If Service Canada does call, which is uncommon, it may unexpectedly contact you in the course of delivering Government of Canada services.

Service Canada and 1 800 O-Canada only send information you have requested and only send notifications through services to which you have signed up.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit scams

The Government of Canada will not contact you by text or email to ask you to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The Government will not notify you by text or email that you have received a CERB payment.

There are only 2 ways to apply for the CERB:

When in doubt, contact 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) and ask them to verify the validity of any communication you have received (including government websites).  Moreover, if the person who contacted you said they were an investigator, the agent will verify whether their name is on the list of Service Canada investigators. If this person was legitimate, the agent will transfer you to the program or service that tried to reach you so that you can obtain more information.

How to protect yourself from identity theft

  • Criminals can alter the information for called ID. Never use only the displayed information to assume the identity of the caller.
  • If an individual asks you to pay taxes or other fees via an email, a call or text message, its likely a scam
  • Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords and PINs secret
  • Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website to find out if the charity is registered.
  • If you receive links in any email you receive, it is not recommended to click on it. Some criminals may be using a technique known as ‘phishing’ to steal your personal information if the link is clicked
  • Protect your Social Insurance Number. Never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information.
  • Always check your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions
  • Shred unwanted documents with your name and SIN and store them in a secure place
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards
  • Carry only the ID you need
  • Do not write down any passwords or carry them with you on paper or on your phone
  • Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask the post office to place a hold on delivery

If you think you have been a victim of fraud

If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service. You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1‑888-495-8501. Report the theft of your Social Insurance Number (SIN) by contacting Service Canada at 1-866-274-6627. For more information, see the Social Insurance Number page.

This article is originally sourced by