Every year, thousands of Canadians fall victim to credit card and debit card fraud, telemarketing scams, identity theft, online fraud and insurance fraud. Read more about the most common approaches that fraudsters take.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge or consent, to commit a crime, such as fraud or theft.
Identity thieves steal key pieces of your personal information and use it to impersonate you and commit crimes in your name. They may physically steal important documents, or they may obtain your personal information in other ways, without your knowledge. Once they steal the information, they may use these stolen identities to conduct spending sprees, open new bank accounts, divert mail, or apply for loans, credit cards and social benefits.
Key signs that someone may be trying to steal your identity
- Your bank statement, online activity or passbook shows transactions that you don’t recognize.
- A creditor informs you that an application for credit was received with your name and address, which you did not complete.
- You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name that do not belong to you.
- You no longer receive legitimate credit card or bank account statements or you notice that not all of your mail is delivered.
- A collection agency informs you they are collecting for a defaulted account established with your identity and you never opened the account.
- Your chequebook, passbook or credit card goes missing.
Alert your creditors and financial institutions
Notify these organizations immediately if your bank cards, credit cards or identification are lost or stolen.
Consult financial institution(s)
- Discuss whether to close your bank accounts and open new ones.
- Ask your bank to replace your existing bank card with a new one and assign new PINs.
- Ask how to report new problems.
- Discuss whether to cancel your credit cards and get new ones issued.
- Ask the issuer whether other accounts have been tampered with or opened fraudulently in your name.
- Notify your telephone, cable and utilities companies that someone is or may be using your name to open new accounts fraudulently.
- If identification has been stolen, contact all issuers to have the ID coded as stolen. Alert government organizations.
- If your SIN is lost or stolen, or if you suspect that someone has been using your SIN to get a job, contact Human Resources Development Canada at 1-800-206-7218 or P.O. Box 7000 Bathurst, NB E2A 4T1.
- If your driver’s licence is lost or stolen, contact your local driver and vehicle licence issuing office.
- If you suspect that someone is diverting your mail, contact Canada Post.
- Consider contacting the police. Filing a police report establishes legitimacy for your claim of fraud.
Advise the credit reporting agencies
Call Equifax toll-free at 1-877-323-2598, and call TransUnion toll-free at 1-877-713-3393 or 514-335-0374 (Quebec residents), 1-800-663-9980 (Canadians outside Quebec) or 1-800-916-8800 (U.S. citizens).
Numerous organizations are taking part in the war against fraud.
Who to call for fraud-busting help
Part of preventing fraud is reporting it so others aren’t victimized as well. To learn more or to report a fraud, contact the following agencies:
Phonebusters, 1-888-495-8501. Phonebusters is a national anti-fraud call centre operated by law enforcement agencies, including the RCMP. It collects complaints and forwards them to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Competition Bureau, 1-800-348-5358. The Competition Bureau is a great source for fraud prevention information.
RCMP. The RCMP website highlights the latest consumer scams and how you can deal with them.
Reporting Economic Crime On-Line. RECOL enables you to file your complaint online, and forwards it to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agency and/or private commercial organization for potential investigation. It also provides support for education, prevention and awareness of economic crime.
Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus. The BBB’s mission includes setting standards for marketplace trust and denouncing substandard marketplace behaviour. On its site you can search for reputable businesses and file complaints.
CollapseCredit and debit card fraud
This type of fraud occurs when a person uses your credit or your debit card or the card’s details without your knowledge or consent, typically to make purchases or apply for credit fraudulently.
Credit cards and debit cards have become the most popular payment options for Canadians. Most people today prefer paying with plastic to handing over cash and cheques. At the same time you should be aware of the potential for credit card and debit card fraud.
How do these types of fraud work?
Credit card fraud comes in two main forms.
- Criminals can steal your actual card or obtain your credit card number, often by Phishing, Vishing, Smishing, or Malware.
- They can also produce counterfeit cards and get credit cards issued to them by making false applications using your identity.
According to the RCMP, criminals target students, new Canadians and people who have experienced credit problems by offering them low-interest credit cards for a fee. People who pay the fee never get a card and never see their money again.
Debit card fraud occurs when a criminal obtains your debit card information and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Without your PIN the debit card is useless, so if your card is stolen or duplicated the criminal must try to find out your PIN. That’s why protecting your PIN is so important.
- In one method, called “skimming,” consumers have provided their debit card to make a payment, and the merchant swipes the card through a hidden device to obtain the information embedded in the magnetic stripe so that a duplicate of the card can be made. At the same time, a camera records the consumer entering their PIN.
- In another, the debit handset, where you input your PIN, is “swapped out” with another that either records the entered information so that the fraudster can steal it back later and gain access to your accounts, or wirelessly transmits the data to the fraudster, located nearby.
- Finally, ATMs have been tampered with to either record or transmit the customer’s card details and PIN.
When criminals post a fraudulent website to gather personal information from unknowing consumers, it’s called “phishing.” There are ways you can protect yourself.
"Phishing" or "brand spoofing" is a scam where a perpetrator sends authentic-looking emails, appearing to come from legitimate companies, in an effort to “fish” or “phish” for personal and financial information. The emails direct recipients to click on links that re-direct them to fraudulent or "spoofed" websites. Once on the fraudulent site, the email recipient is asked to enter personal and/or financial information that is later used to commit fraud.
If you receive such an email claiming to be from TD Bank Group and you believe it to be fraudulent, do not respond and do not open or click on any links or open attachments contained within the email. Please notify us by visiting our online reporting centre and by forwarding a copy of the email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, ensure that you delete the email immediately after notifying us.
TD Bank Group will not ask you to provide personal information, or login information such as usernames, passwords, PINs, Identification Plus security questions and answers, or account numbers, through unsolicited email.
Some fraudsters will call in an attempt to trick customers into providing their personal information. Being aware of the tactics used can help you stay safe.
"Vishing" ("voice" plus "phishing") uses telephone communications to strengthen a phishing expedition.
Legitimate financial institutions do not request personal information from their customers by unsolicited email or telephone calls – they already have that information.
At no time will we ask you to reply to an email with account numbers, passwords, PINs, Identification Plus questions and answers, or other personal information, because unencrypted email is not secure. If the email provides the option of a response, you will be asked to contact us by phone or visit one of our secure websites. If you call in to TD Bank, we may ask you to provide personal information as a means of authenticating you.
If you suspect vishing, do not respond to the phone or email message. Do contact your financial institution or credit card company and tell them of your suspicions. TD Bank’s contact information can be found here.
Some fraudsters will send “phishing” text messages in an attempt to trick customers into providing their personal information. Being aware of the tactics used can help you stay safe.
"Smishing” is a combined word created from “Short Message Service” (i.e. a text message) and the word "phishing"). Text messages sent to your cell phone using SMS (Short Message Service) technology can be sent to ‘phish’ for your personal information in the same way that such information is sought through ‘vishing’ and ‘phishing’ expeditions.
Watch out for the following indications that an SMS text message may be a Smishing attempt:
- The message may include what looks like a legitimate website address and asks you to confirm (i.e. enter) several pieces of your personal financial information, such as your credit/debit card number, CVV code (on the back of your credit card), your ABM card number, your SIN, your email address, or other personal information.
If you suspect Smishing, do not respond to the text message. You should immediately contact the financial institution or credit card company and tell them of your suspicions. TD Bank’s contact information can be found here.
Please note that we will never send you a text message asking for your personal information. When you call the Bank on your own or in response to TD contacting you, we will ask you to provide personal information as a means to authenticate you.
There are three basic forms of insurance fraud. Learn what to watch out for.
You may receive a fraudulent telephone call from a false insurance broker, demanding immediate payment of your supposedly overdue premium in order to continue your policy.
The caller will typically claim to be from your insurance company and demand immediate payment of the full-term premium or an outstanding amount on your policy, by credit card. The caller threatens to cancel your policy if payment is not received.
In many cases, the caller will not know the name of your insurance company. This is a red flag that the call isn’t legitimate.
- TD Insurance will not contact you without identifying ourselves clearly and providing details of your insurance that you can validate.
- Our internal fraud awareness team will investigate any cases involving our clients that may arise.
- You must protect yourself by remaining aware of these types of actions and ensuring that you do not release information to a third party over the phone unless you have verified the identity of the party you are speaking with.
If you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to be a TD Insurance agent or broker who asks you to pay a service fee for providing you with insurance or advice, do not comply.
TD Insurance does not request any form of service fee in procuring insurance.
In addition, these individuals are neither licensed nor insurance advice experts, and may unjustly and/or inappropriately represent the insurance provider.
If ever in doubt, please contact TD Insurance directly.
Misappropriation of premiums
When you take out personal or damage insurance as protection against risk, you are charged a premium by the insurer. However, there have been cases of persons purporting to be insurance representatives and misappropriating premiums for their own personal gain.
To protect yourself:
- Deal only with reputable brokers.
- Never provide payment or private information without verifying the broker’s identity.