Telemarketing or phone fraud is the practice of calling individuals for the sole purpose of defrauding them out of money. Listen for warning signs during a suspicious phone call. If there's mention of things like free gifts, vacations or prizes, or the caller uses high-pressure tactics and phrases like "limited offer," and "you must act now," it's probably a scam. Registering with the National Do Not Call list doesn't protect you from phone scams.
Reporting phone fraud and scams
If you have been the victim of a telemarketing or phone fraud and/or scam, please call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 to report the crime.
If you are not a victim but know of a potential fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (toll free 1-888-495-8501).
If you receive a suspicious phone call that you think may be a scam, hang up immediately. Do not give out any information or money and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report your suspicions. To trace a call from your phone, hang up the phone, listen for a dial tone and press *57. There is usually a fee associated with this service. Stay on the line and listen for the announcement that verifies the trace was successful. You then need to contact the phone company. Call trace information is only released to the police.
More information on phone fraud and scams is available through the RCMP website.
Don't be a victim of phone fraud
These tips will help keep you from getting victimized by telemarketing scammers:
- Don't believe everyone who calls with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity.
- Don't disclose personal information about your bank accounts, credit cards or address over the telephone.
- Don't be afraid to hang up.
- Don't be afraid to ask for documentation to verify a product or investment. But remember, even the unscrupulous have professionally prepared literature, catalogues and invoices.
- Don't be pressured into making a decision. Any legitimate gift or prize will still be available tomorrow.
- Do take the time to call a friend, relative, banker or a police agency before making a decision to send money.
- Do call the police to report any suspicious phone calls or mailings.
- Do take the opportunity to ask the caller questions about their offer or promotion. No legitimate company will refuse your inquiries.
- Do ask for literature so you can read about the company before making a commitment.
- Do ask the company for references from other customers who live in your area.