There has been a growing trend in the last several years of ill-intentioned individuals posing as representatives from various insurance companies to obtain, over the phone or by email, sensitive information from consumers. Be vigilant to avoid falling into the trap, and don't hesitate to report such fraudulent situations.
Did you get a suspicious call from an individual who wished to offer you a financial product? Asking yourself how you should react to such a situation?
Fraudulent emails (phishing)
What is phishing and how can you recognize it? Learn about preventive measures and how to report this kind of fraud.
Fraudsters all use more or less the same type of approach. You get a call in the evening from someone who wants to offer you financial services, usually in connection with your mortgage. The caller asks you the name of the company you are currently dealing with. Sometimes, the caller wants to verify your address. If you refuse to answer the questions asked, the caller simply hangs up.
Legitimate telephone solicitation practices
Insurance companies must comply with certain rules regarding telephone solicitation. For example, if you registered your number on the National Do Not Call List (NDNCL), you should not receive sales calls.
What's more, licensed insurance representatives and mortgage financing advisors are required to give their name and state their job title, the entity they work for (company or firm) and the reason for their call. In general, when representatives call, they offer to schedule a meeting so that they can talk to you in greater detail about what they have to offer.
- If you have caller ID and receive a call from someone you don't know, don't answer.
- You should be particularly suspicious of telephone numbers with a 900 area code.
- Jot down the phone number and type it on the Google search bar. The search results can confirm or relieve your doubts. That's because a number of sites display telephone numbers known to be used for fraudulent calls.
If you answer...
- Never give any personal information to someone over the phone, unless you are the one who made the call, and the number is from a secure source.
- Be wary of limited time offers, especially if the caller pressures you to accept.
- If the caller claims to represent your bank or insurance company, ask for his or her name. Then, take the time to call your financial institution to find out if the offer is legit.
Fraudulent emails (phishing)
Phishing is a general term used to describe the sending, by criminals, of emails, text messages or links to websites designed to appear as though they are coming from legitimate and recognized companies, financial institutions and government agencies in order to fool the recipient into providing personal, financial or sensitive information. This crime is also known as “brand spoofing.”
How to detect phishing emails
See the infographic (PDF - 1 page)
- Beware of emails or text messages in which you are asked to provide personal or financial information on the spot (financial institutions and companies which issue credit cards do not usually ask their clients to confirm sensitive information by email).
- Contact the institution or company using a number that comes from a reliable source, such as a phone book or an invoice.
- Never send financial or personal information by e-mail.
- Don’t click on links included in emails and claim to redirect you to a safe site.
- Get in the habit of verifying the website’s address bar to see if the address is different from the one included in your email.
- Regularly update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software, your email filters and firewalls to help protect your computer.
- Many legitimate companies and financial institutions that were targeted by phishers have provided contact information that clients can use to report potential phishing cases. They also explained in online memos methods to recognize phishing and the measures to take to protect yourself from this type of fraud.
- Regularly verify your financial transaction, credit card and debit card statements to ensure all transactions that appear are legitimate.
How to report a phishing email
If you suspect you received a fraudulent email:
Write to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre email@example.com or by contacting the financial institution itself.
If you receive a suspicious email and you have provided personal or financial information:
Contact your financial institution
Contact your bank, financial institution or your credit card company.
Contact the credit reporting agencies
Contact the credit reporting agencies and ask that they include fraud alerts in your solvency report.
Contact the authorities
Contact your local police department.
Always report phishing
If you replied to a suspicious email, report it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.