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Cheque Cashing/Online Classifieds/Money Transfer Job Scams

Scenario 1

When you try to sell services or products online, or after seeing your resume posted online, fraudsters may contact you. They will offer you the asking price for your services or products but when you receive the cheque, it is more than the agreed amount. The "buyer" says it's a mistake and asks you to return the balance using a money transfer service.

Scenario 2

If fraudsters contact you to offer you the opportunity to work as a "secret shopper", the job might be to test the services of a cheque-cashing or a money transfer company. The offer usually contains a cheque along with instructions for you to cash the cheque and transfer a portion of the sum over a money transfer service.


  • Beware if you find yourself in either scenario. If you cash the cheque and it turns out to be fraudulent, you could be held accountable for the entire monetary loss by your bank.


  • When you receive the cheque for the services and products, return it and simply ask the "buyer" to send another one with the correct amount.
  • The Bureau is unaware of any legitimate organizations using the said technique of employment. Beware when being approached to transfer money.
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Emergency scams target grandparents and play upon their emotions to rob them of their money.
In the typical scenario of an emergency scam, a grandparent receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. Callers go on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in a car accident, are having trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money.
You may get a call from two people, one pretending to be your grandchild and the other pretending to be either a police officer or a lawyer. Your “grandchild” asks you questions during the call, getting you to volunteer personal information.
Callers say that they don’t want other family members to find out what has happened. You will be asked to wire some money through a money transfer company. Often, victims don’t verify the story until after the money has been sent.
In some cases, scammers pretend to be your old neighbour or a friend of the family, but for the most part, the emergency scam is directed at grandparents.
Protect Yourself
Scammers are counting on the fact that you will want to act quickly to help your loved ones in an emergency.
Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust. Verify the person’s identity before you take any steps to help.
Don’t give out any personal information to the caller.
Does the caller’s story make sense?
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CRA Telephone Scam

Recent telephone scams involve threatening taxpayers or using aggressive and forceful language to scare them into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. Victims receive a phone call from a person claiming to work for the CRA and saying that taxes are owed. The caller requests immediate payment by credit card or convinces the victims to purchase a prepaid credit card and to call back immediately with the information. The taxpayer is often threatened with court charges, jail or deportation.
If you get such a call, hang up and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
These types of communication are not from the CRA. When the CRA calls you, it has established procedures in place to make sure your personal information is protected. If you want to confirm the authenticity of a CRA telephone number, call the CRA by using the numbers on its Telephone numbers page. The number for business-related calls is 1-800-959-5525. The number for calls about individual concerns is 1-800-959-8281.
To help you identify possible scams, use the following guidelines:

The CRA:

never requests prepaid credit cards;
never asks for information about your passport, health card, or driver's licence;
never shares your taxpayer information with another person, unless you have provided the appropriate authorization; and
never leaves personal information on your answering machine or asks you to leave a message containing your personal information on an answering machine.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
Is there a reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return?
Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
How did the requester get my email address or telephone number?
Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
The CRA has strong practices to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The confidence and trust that individuals and businesses have in the CRA is a cornerstone of Canada's tax system. For more information about the security of taxpayer information and other examples of fraudulent communications, go to

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The Canadian edition of The Little Black Book of Scams is a compact and easy to use reference guide filled with information Canadians can use to protect themselves against a variety of common scams. It debunks common myths about scams, provides contact information for reporting a scam to the correct authority, and offers a step-by-step guide for scam victims to reduce their losses and avoid becoming repeat victims.
Consumers and businesses can consult The Little Black Book of Scams to avoid falling victim to social media and mobile phone scams, fake charities and lotteries, dating and romance scams, and many other schemes used to defraud Canadians of their money and personal information.

Link to PDF version of Little Black Book of Scams here. 

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March Is Fraud Awareness Month

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the annual education and awareness campaign that began in 2004 by encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud.

Recognize, Reject

Thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded each year. There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Fraud targets Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life. Recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself.
Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include:
developing professional-looking marketing materials;
providing believable answers for your tough questions;
impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes;
pretending to be your ordinary supplier;
hiding the true details in the fine print;
preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment;
asking for fees in advance of promised services;
threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts;
falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services;
and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.


How to Report Fraud

Fraudulent or suspicious activity can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.
Report instances of misleading or deceptive marketing practices to the Competition Bureau using the online complaint form or by telephone at 1-800-348-5358. If you are a victim of fraud, let your local police force know.
If you decide to file a complaint, it is important that you keep any evidence you may have related to your complaint. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:
cancelled cheques
certified or other mail receipts
chatroom or newsgroup text
credit card receipts
shipping envelopes
money order receipts
pamphlets or brochures
phone bills
printed or electronic copies of emails
printed or electronic copies of web pages
wire receipts
notes taken as events take place
Keep evidence items in a safe location in the event that you are requested to provide them. This information may form an important part of any investigation. The information you provide could be used as evidence during a prosecution.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud

Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns.
Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report It! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.


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