Tips (Avoid these Scams and Fraud)

Fraud Quiz

Summer is often a time for vacations and relaxing, but it's important to stay current and never let your guard down when it comes to protecting yourself from fraud.

For example, do you only do business over the Internet if the company website appears professional and includes contact information?

What about hot tips on investment opportunities that you hear about while checking your favourite investing chat site?

Is it legitimate for a fraud investigator or law officer to ask for a payment before launching a fraud investigation?

If you're unsure about any of these questions or if you just want a refresher, consider taking a pop quiz to test your knowledge and stay up to date.

Test your Fraud Knowledge

Put your memory to the test by taking the federal Office of Consumer Affairs' Fraud Quiz.

A risk meter will gauge your risk level based on your responses as you go and you can also read about additional areas of concern based on your responses.  Have fun, and enjoy a fraud-free summer!

Avoid Counterfeit Bills

By paying attention to the look and feel of bills, you can avoid being stuck with counterfeit bills.  The security features of Canadian bank notes are as follows:

Holographic stripe - Tilt the bill, and brightly coloured numbers and maple leaves will "move" within the shiny, metallic strip. Colours will change through the various shades of the rainbow. Check that the numbers match the bill's value.

Security thread - Hold the bill to the light, tilt, and a continuous solid line appears. Check that the dashes change from gold to green and that the tiny numbers next to ‘CAN' match.  .

Watermark portrait - Hold the bill to the light and a small, ghostlike image of the portrait appears to the left of the large number. Check that the ghost image matches the portrait, the number above the ghost's image matches the bill's value, and the dashes form a continuous solid line. 

See-through number - Hold the bill to the light and, just like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the irregular marks on the front and back will form a complete and perfectly aligned number. Check that the number matches the bill's value.

Raised ink - Slide your thumb or fingers over the large number, portrait, coat of arms, and text ‘BANK OF CANADA - BANQUE DU CANADA'.  Check that the raised ink in these areas feels thicker than the rest of the bill. 

Florescence - Under ultraviolet light, check text ‘BANK OF CANADA - BANQUE DU CANADA' and number matching the bill's value glow in red and yellow.  Check for scattered red and yellow fibres on both sides.

View the location of security features at

For the process to report suspect bills, refer to Procedures: Managing Counterfeit Bank Notes.


Avoid Travel Fraud

Planning a getaway to someplace warm, where the sun rises earlier than 8:16am and sets much later than 6:09pm in the winter months?  Prevent unwanted ‘surprises' from spoiling your vacation.  A little diligence can go a long way in reducing your exposure to travel scams.  Following the tips below can help make your trip FREE! (of fraud):

Know who you are dealing with:
Buy a travel package from a company with a good reputation.  Ask friends to recommend a business you can trust.  Research potential vendors online: Are they a member of the BBB?  Does their website appear professional?

 If it sounds too good to be true...
Be wary of ads or faxes offering deeply discounted vacations.  Some scams artists offer the world, but leave you at the gate.  Other ‘details' may contain hidden costs.  Before you buy, get the details in writing and a copy of the company's cancellation and refund policies.  Consider whether cancellation insurance is appropriate for you.  Be wary of vague promises that you will stay at a ‘major' hotel or sail on a ‘luxury' cruise ship.  Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each party before you buy.  Call to verify your reservations.

Use payment protection:
Use a credit card to make your travel purchase.  If you don't get what you pay for, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card issuer. 

Read the fine print:
Thinking about joining a travel club?  Ask questions before signing up.  Sometimes those ‘free' memberships can weigh you down with credit card charges that you didn't realize were in the contract due to lack of disclosure.

For more travel and vacation tips refer to the following links:



Avoid Commercial Scams

The business looks and sounds like any professional vendor you've ever dealt with...but before you know it, you're trapped.

Office supplies you never ordered are delivered, goods are paid for but never received, and their customer service staff is not authorized to cancel orders that you are certain you've never placed. What's more, collection agents from these supposed vendors get nasty...suspiciously so.

Remember: A reputable vendor cares enough about your business to treat you with respect, but a fraudster is only interested in getting your money today, and closing up shop tomorrow.

Here are some tips to help you protect your organization from fraud:

  • Closely examine any ads or offers and ask questions about anything that's unclear. Review all unsolicited offers with a critical eye.
  • Inform yourself about the product or service offered and don't be pressured to act immediately. Take time to do your research.
  • Report it to the Competition Bureau.
  • Always ask for a copy of the offer in writing.
  • Before paying, make sure you get what you ordered. Don't be bullied into paying for something because of threats to damage your credit rating.

To learn more about commercial scams and typical fraudster tactics, visit: