The most common scams in Canada


Over the years I’ve seen a lot of scams in Canada. From text messages to phone calls to emails. I wanted to share with you in this article the most common scams in Canada to help you protect yourself. It’s intimidating to arrive in a new country. You don’t know who you can trust. And unfortunately, the people behind these well-rehearsed scams take advantage of this and particularly target newly assigned phone numbers.

Unfortunately, this list is not exhaustive, and I always recommend you to be as cautious as possible.

You can also find the video on scams in Canada on my Youtube channel here, don’t forget to subscribe and find me on Instagram.


Calls in foreign languages

You receive a call from a number you don’t know. You pick up the phone. Someone speaks to you in a foreign language, often Asian. Granted, this isn’t the worst scam in Canada, it’s more annoying than dangerous. I recommend that you hang up and simply block the number.

Calls from CRA (Canadian tax authorities)

This call is a little more alarming than the previous one. The person on the phone introduces himself as a CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) employee. You’re told that you owe money, or that they owe you money. Don’t panic! If in doubt, call the tax office yourself after hanging up the phone. In general, the exchanges I’ve had with the tax authorities have been via their online platform or by post. For more information on taxes in Canada, I’ll let you read this article.

Calls from Toronto police

This example unfortunately comes to me from a follower on Instagram. She received a call from the Toronto police telling her that her bank account had been corrupted. That she had to transfer all her money to another account to protect herself. An account they provided. She transferred the money to this account and lost everything. Between the stress of having the police on the phone, plus the language barrier and the fact that you don’t really know the rules here when you arrive. It’s normal to panic. But you should know that nobody will ask you to transfer your money just like that. As in the previous example: hang up, block the number, call your bank and/or the police to check.

Calls from your bank

I received one not long ago. And honestly, even after years here, I was scared when I heard that my credit card had a problem. Then when I thought about it for 2 minutes, there were plenty of red flags: it wasn’t my advisor, the questions asked were strange, the urgency of the call. I also sensed the approximation in the voice of the person on the phone. I hung up and blocked the number.

Calls from Service Canada

The purpose of this call is to share your sin number with you. This is your government identification number. If you want to know more, I invite you to read my guide for newcomers to Toronto here. This number is confidential and should only be shared with your employer or bank, for example. Especially not with strangers on the phone. Like many scams, they’re very prepared. They can tell you “You can check my name on the Service Canada website, that’s my name”. And you can find these names. Once again, you hang up and call the service yourself.


Text messages

I get them every week … from every Canadian bank there is, from Canada Post. But also from Netflix, from every phone company in Canada, and from carriers like Fedex. These are alarming messages, telling you that your accounts will be suspended or that your delivery cannot be completed. And that you need to click on the link to solve the problem. Don’t click on the link! Never click on a link from a stranger.

First thing to do: is it my bank? Is it my phone company? Do I have a Netflix account? Am I expecting a package? You’ll see that this will already give you a big clue. I mainly get messages from other operators or banks!

Then check your customer account and contact them directly!

Facebook groups

Facebook groups are great, but you also have to be really careful. You’ll find job offers that are too good to be true. Some will ask you for your identity papers to create the contract, for example. You run the risk of identity theft. Others talk about work done but never paid for. I’ve also seen apartment offers well below the market price. People will ask you to pay money without having seen the apartment. More tips on finding accommodation in Toronto in this article. But the number one tip is really not to pay for a place you haven’t seen.


Tips to protect yourself from scams in Canada

To conclude this article, let’s summarize the most important points:

  • If you have any doubts, call the police yourself to make sure it’s true.
  • The same goes for your bank: contact your advisor or customer service department.
  • Never click on a link you don’t know. At worst, go to the Canada Post website, for example, and enter the number manually.
  • If you’ve been scammed, register with Equifax and tell them you’ve had your identity stolen. This will protect you if your identity is later used to scam someone else, for example.
  • Block numbers that call you for scams.
  • The iPhone now warns you that it’s potentially a scam.
  • You’ll find more information on the government website.
  • Contact the police to report a scam, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • You can also register your number on Canada’s Do Not Call List.


I hope these tips will help you protect yourself!

Feel free to add your own tips in the comments.


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