Alerts and Scams
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CFAC)
Following below is information on a number of scams reported to First Calgary Financial.
For all the latest information on other scams, visit the Government of Canada's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre web site, or phone them at at 1-888-495-8501.
If you think that you may have been involved in a scam, don't be embarrassed - you're not alone. Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report the scam online through their web site.
Work From Home Scam
Please be aware of the following scam targeting university students to participate in work-from-home scams.
Students have been receiving emails to their school accounts recruiting them for Payroll and/or Human Resources positions with fictitious companies. The “position” simply requires the student to provide their bank account number to receive a deposit and then transfer a portion of the funds to another bank account. The funds the student received and then proceeds to direct elsewhere have been stolen by cyber criminals, and the unwitting student has transferred the funds to an account involved in the scam.
How the scam works:
- The student is asked to provide their bank account information to set up direct deposit for their “pay.”
- The fraudsters will add the student’s bank account information to a victim employee’s direct deposit and redirect the victim’s payroll deposit to the student’s account.
- The student will receive the payroll deposit from the victim’s employer in the victim’s name.
- The student will be instructed to withdraw funds from the account and send a portion of the deposit, via wire transfer, to other individuals involved in the scam.
How you can protect yourself from this scam:
- If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Never accept a job that requires the depositing of funds to your account and wiring them to a different account.
- Look for grammatical, capitalization and tense errors within the email.
- Never provide personal details of any kind such as bank account information, login names, passwords in response to a recruitment email.
- If you have received an e-mail of this type, report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Costco & Home Depot - Email Phishing Scam
We have been alerted to a Phishing Scam where fraudsters are sending emails to customers claiming to be from well-known merchants, such as Costco and Home Depot, attempting to lure recipients into submitting personal/financial information.
Both email phishing attempts include indicators that they are not authentic. For example, the Home Depot email asks recipients to “Sing Up” for exclusive email savings (grammar/spelling errors) while the Costco email is extremely vague regarding a recently placed order in which the personal information “coincides” with the email recipient’s information.
If a member receives this type of email, please advise them to not reply to it or follow any of the provided links, and discard it immediately.
Phishing prevention tips from the RCMP are available below:
- Be suspicious of any e-mail or text message containing urgent requests for personal or financial information (financial institutions and credit card companies normally will not use e-mail to confirm an existing client's information)
- Contact the organization by using a telephone number from a credible source such as a phone book or a bill
- Never e-mail personal or financial information
- Avoid embedded links in an e-mail claiming to bring you to a secure site
- Get in the habit of looking at a website's address line and verify if it displays something different from the address mentioned in the email
- Regularly update your computer protection with anti-virus software, spyware filters, e-mail filters and firewall programs
- A number of legitimate companies and financial institutions that have been targeted by phishing schemes have published contact information for reporting possible phishing e-mails as well as online notices about how their customers can recognize and protect themselves from phishing
- Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.
Courier Delivery Scam
Please be aware of the following new scam being used to harvest credit card data:
- The victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be a courier asking if they will be home to receive a package delivery that requires a signature.
- Courier arrives with a basket of flowers and wine. When recipient inquires about the delivery (having no known occasion for the gift) the courier responds that a note will follow separately.
- Courier explains because the gift contains alcohol, there is a $3.50 “delivery/verification charge” providing proof that the courier delivered the package to an adult of legal drinking age.
- If the victim offers to pay cash, the courier will explain that payment is to be made by debit or credit card only so that everything is accounted for and there is a legal record of the transaction. They also rationalize that couriers no longer carry cash due to concerns of robbery.
- Victim is asked to swipe their card on a small mobile card machine with a small screen and keypad where the victim enters the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt is printed and given to the victim.
- The “mobile credit card machine” captures all the information necessary to create a “dummy” card with all card details after being swiped and the PIN entered.
- Substantial fraudulent debit and credit card charges are then made to the victim’s card at various POS and ATM locations.
If you believe your First Cheque Global Payment Card or Credit Union MasterCard may have been compromised, please call CUETS at 1-800-567-8111.
CRA - Interac E-Transfer Scam
The CRA has recently become aware of a new scam involving email money transfers wherein the “taxpayer” receives an email (phishing) advising that the CRA has sent them funds via Interac e-Transfer and providing a link to deposit the funds to their account. Members are reminded that the CRA will only send payments by direct deposit or by cheque, NEVER by email money transfer. The link provided within the email, if clicked, could possibly lead to the download of viruses and a compromise of password protected sites including Online Banking. Note: Hold the mouse cursor over any hyperlink in the email, the web address in the pop up window will not match the web page displayed in the hyperlink.
Please review the Canada Revenue Agency’s page on Fraudulent Communications to view full details of known CRA scams.
Click here to view samples of fraudulent CRA Interac e-Transfer email notifications.
If you think you may have responded to a fraudulent communication and have become a victim of fraud, please contact the RCMP’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at email@example.com or call 1-888-495-850.
Publishers Clearing House “phone scam”
Victims receive a phone call from a person who claims he is from Publishers Clearing House and he is calling to say the person has won $2.5 million in sweepstakes.
He then advises in order to claim the prize, the person will have to provide personal information to confirm identity (Social Insurance Number, name, date of birth, address, phone number, and bank account information).
The other option he will offer is for the person to wire him a sum of money, usually in the $250.00 range, to an address in the United States. Victims state that he is extremely persistent and will not take no as an answer. People are advised simply to hang up.
Note: If you didn’t enter the contest, you didn’t win. Publishers Clearing House does not email or call their big winners. You never have to pay to receive a legitimate Publishers Clearing House win.
RCMP would like to remind the public that personal information should never be given out over the phone. If you suspect that something is not quite right, hang up immediately and contact your local police department or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or by email.
“Ransomware” Computer Scam
Computer users are receiving pop-up messages asking for immediate payment or they will be locked out of their computer. Often these pop-up messages appear after a user attempts to download something off the internet. The download activates Malware or a type of virus which creates a pop-up message asking for payment.
Computer users say the pop-up warnings claim to be from a Canadian police or government agency. The message tells computer users to pay $100.00 through Ukash, a payment service provider, so their computers can be unlocked.
Ransomware scams are designed to create shock and anxiety so computer users respond by sending money quickly to prevent being locked out of their computer.
If you receive one of these messages, please be aware that:
- The ransomware is an attempt to defraud you.
- Sending money will not fix your computer-it will remain locked.
- Neither police nor any Canadian government agency would hijack computers in order to obtain money.
The ransomware is hard evidence that your computer has been infected by malicious software (malware) that must be dealt with.
The recommended way to re-gain access to your computer is to seek the help of a computer technician who can remove the malware.
To protect against cyber attacks, it is recommended to update your software regularly. You should have up-to-date anti-virus, spyware and firewall protection.
If you receive a ransomware message, please report it to the police and to the
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501
Credit Union Canada – Email Phishing Scam
Please be aware of the following phishing scam currently being directed to Canadian Credit Union members with a message requesting information from “Credit Union Canada”.
This phishing scam informs members that their accounts have been compromised, money has been transferred, their account has been blocked and that immediate action must be taken.
Note: Credit Union Central of Canada does not have access to or need personal member financial information..
This is a copy of the phishing email.
Should you receive this request to “restore their account”, do not respond. Report it to your Credit Union and report to local authorities or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Letter Scam “Alberta Super Seven Contest”
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) have advised that letters using AGLC mock letterhead are currently being sent to Alberta addresses. The letters contain the following information:
- Letter with mock AGLC letterhead, claiming that the recipient has won a $40,000.00 prize from “Alberta Super Seven Contest”.
- A cheque, made payable to recipient for $1,600.00 is attached to the letter.
- Recipients are instructed to pay $1,400.00 in taxes for their prize through Western Union. They will receive their tax information from their Claim Agent and are instructed to call the Claim Agent immediately.
The cheque for $1,600.00 is fraudulent.
Should you receive this letter, phone your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
Credit Union Canada - "Security Update" Scam
Please be aware of the following phishing scam currently being directed to Canadian credit union members with a message requesting information from “Credit Union Canada”. The email is requesting personal and work information including SIN as a standard ‘security update’.
The email includes a request that this information be provided via an attachment rather than be updated directly on their online account or within a branch.
Note: Credit Union Central of Canada would NEVER contact a client directly to request personal information.
This is a copy of the phishing email.
Should you receive this request for personal information, do not respond. Report it to your Credit Union and report it to local authorities or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Cheque Cashing - Mystery Shoppers Scam
Victims of this scam receive a cheque in the mail that seems genuine. Victims are asked to participate in an activity to assess the quality of the service provided by a money transfer company. They are asked to cash the cheque enclosed, send back a portion of the amount, via wire, and keep the rest of the money as payment for their services. In many cases, the original cheque is stolen, counterfeit, or altered and is not returned to the credit union until a much later date. You won’t discover there is a problem with the cheque until after the funds have been sent.
Interac® e-Transfer - phishing email scam
A number of fradulent Interac® e-Transfer notification emails are now being reported as being received, with links designed to load spyware or malware onto the recipient's computer if clicked.
*Note: Due to the prolification of social networking (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and information people normally share on them, in future it is possible that the recipient's name may start appearing in the phishing email as this fraud gets more refined. However, fradulent indicators #1 & #3 will still apply!
The following is a screen cap of a fradulent email with those indicators highlighted:
Anti-Virus Software Scam
During the 2011 Summer months, Alberta appeared to be the latest province targeted in a telemarketing fraud intent on persuading individuals there are issues with their computer‘s security. This scam started being reported to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CFAC) in March 2010.
The Anti-Virus Software scam involves a cold call (unsolicited call) from a representative of an online support company (typically with an official sounding name incorporating ‘MICROSOFT’ or 'WINDOWS’ or 'ONLINE PC CARE' ) offering to repair the household’s computer due to a virus alert they detected.
The caller typically offers to “repair” the infected household computer by either (a) requesting remote access to the computer following their instructions or (b) providing a web site address to download an anti-virus software. In both instances, the fraudster's objective is to gain access to the computer’s files to extract personal data such as passwords.
Adding insult to injury, in return for this remote access repair or anti-virus download the caller asks for a payment by credit card. According to the CFAC charges can range from $35 up to $469.
Other variations of this scam involve consumers responding to pop-up ads offering anti-virus software. These sort of pop-ups are referred to as “Scareware” and are specifically designed to heighten your feelings of alarm and anxiety about threats to your computer that the anti-virus software will resolve.
Remember the key indicators of these sorts of fraud are:
- Urgent solicitation indicating there is a threat to your computer
- Unsolicited call from a computer repair service/company – seeking access to your computer remotely or encouraging you to download software they provide
If in doubt upon receiving an unsolicited call;
- hang up
- disconnect your computer from the internet
- run a full virus scan on your computer using the name brand/trusted anti-virus software you installed yourself!