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Tips to Help Avoid Telemarketing Fraud

According to the federal government, telemarketing fraud costs Canadians more than $100 million every year. While telemarketing is a legitimate sales tool for many companies, including TD Bank Financial Group, criminals may also use it to deceive you with tempting but phony offers. Your best defense is to learn to recognize this type of fraud and take a few simple steps to protect yourself in these scenarios.

What is telemarketing fraud?

Telemarketing fraud occurs when criminals - posing as legitimate businesses, charities or causes - call people with phony offers in an attempt to defraud them.

How does it work?

A criminal may phone to pressure you into (a) sending money for a special offer, deal, prize or lottery that you have supposedly won, or (b) revealing confidential information like your credit card numbers, account details and so on.

What can I do to help protect myself?

1. Know who you're dealing with

  • Verify who the company is, where they're located, etc. Ask questions and get a call-back number. If your questions are being avoided or not answered to your satisfaction, you should be cautious. Legitimate companies will give you an opportunity to check them out or think about an offer.
  • Never provide your account number, credit card number or other financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call or have validated who you're talking to within the company. No merchant or police officer should ever request personal banking information from you over the phone. If anyone asks you for this information, alert the police and your financial institutions immediately.

2. Don't rush or be pressured into a decision!

  • Allow time to do your homework. Don't invest or buy a product or service without fully understanding what it is and verifying whether it is legitimate.
  • If the caller is using high-pressure sales tactics, it's a sign that something is probably wrong, especially if you're told to make a decision by the end of the call. The RCMP advises consumers not to be afraid to hang-up the phone; it's not rude, it's smart. Enrolment programs that offer a time period to look over the details while enjoying the benefits can be a good way to learn about an offer. Just be sure to respond within the time period of the offer.
  • Never send money to take advantage of a special offer, prize or deal. You won't get any of these things - or see your money again.
  • Think twice about sending cash. According to law enforcement agencies, criminal telemarketers often ask you to send cash or a money order, rather than provide a cheque or credit card number. If you're asked to send payment by wire or courier, it could be a scam.
  • If the offer sounds too good to be true (e.g., "call now and receive a free trip"), chances are it is.

3. Keep records

  • Make notes of the call - the name, address and phone number of the person or company. If you do purchase an item, record the date of the transaction and the delivery date that is promised.

Where can I get help or more information?

Fraud - recognize it, report it, stop it. To learn more or to report a fraud, you can contact the following:

  • Phonebusters: 1-888-495-8501,
    Call Phonebusters to report fraud. They are a national anti-fraud call centre operated by law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP. They collect complaints and forward them to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
  • Competition Bureau: 1-800-348-5358,
    The RCMP's website highlights the latest consumer scams and how you can deal with them.
  • Reporting Economic Crime
  • Canadian Council of Better Business