Skip to main content
Select Image

Fraud Prevention


Fraud prevention starts with knowledge

Take control of your security by educating yourself, so you can spot it before it happens. We'll do our part to make sure you're protected when you bank with us. Together, we can stay safe from fraud.


How we protect you

We use the best security currently available in a commercial environment so that your personal and financial information is protected.


Encryption ensures that information cannot be read in transit or changed. Some browsers create a more secure channel than others, owing to the ‘strength’ of their encryption. We use only the strongest channel available - referred to as 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Access to our databases is strictly managed and systems are in place to ensure security is not breached, including the physical security of our computer hardware and communications.

Personal Access Codes

We ensure that only individuals who provide an authentic Personal Access Code (PAC) can access your account information. After 20 minutes of inactivity your online banking session will end and you’ll be required to login again, however personal information may remain visible after that time. To ensure your information remains private you should always logout of online banking to end your session.

For more information on specific policies & practices we use to safeguard your personal and financial information see our Privacy Statement.


How to stay safe online

Here are a couple quick tips & common scam examples so you can help keep your assets safe and make sure your banking is secure.


You must protect your online security the same way you protect your home and possessions. Your Password or "Personal Access Code" (PAC) ensures that only you can access your accounts. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your ‘key’ to online banking is protected.

How to protect yourself

  • Select a PAC that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess
  • Do not select a part of your PIN (your ATM ‘key’) or another password
  • Keep your PAC confidential and do not share it with anyone
  • Do not write your PAC down or store it in a file on your computer
  • Never disclose your PAC in a voice or email, and do not disclose it over the phone
  • Ensure no one observes you typing in your PAC.Change your PAC on a regular basis. We suggest every 90–120 days

How to change your PAC

  1. Log in to Online Banking
  2. Click on ‘Profile and Preferences’ on the left hand navigation
  3. Select ‘Change Personal Access Code’
  4. Enter your existing PAC, then enter your new PAC twice
  5. Select ‘Submit’

You should receive a confirmation pop-up that your PAC has been successfully changed.

Scammers can target anyone. Protect yourself or your business from scams and fraud. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is.

How to protect yourself

  • When making purchases always use your chip card when shopping in-store
  • Check your financial accounts regularly to confirm you recognize all listed transactions and to ensure that all transactions are legitimate
  • Create unique, complex passwords for all of your secure accounts
  • Sign up for additional account verification and protection methods whenever offered (e.g. a security question or unique login code via phone/text/email)
  • Purchase gift cards in store to avoid empty gift card scams
  • Sign up for text/email/phone notifications through your credit union to receive immediate transaction alerts.
  • Immediately contact your credit union to report suspicious card activity; if given the option, turn your card off immediately
  • Be careful when downloading unfamiliar retailer/shopping apps, as fake apps are created to steal your information, especially during the holidays

Electronic identity theft can occur when you respond to a fraudulent email that asks for your personal banking information. Once received, fraudsters may be able to access your accounts or establish credit, pay for items, or borrow money using your name.

How to protect yourself

  • Know that we will never ask for your personal passwords, personal information numbers or login information in an email. Legitimate financial institutions do not include links to their web sites in email communications to customers
  • Look for ‘https’ in the address of secure pages that require you to enter personal account information
  • Look for the padlock found in the lower right corner of your screen. If the page is legitimate, by clicking on the padlock, you can view the security certificate details for the site. A fraudulent site will not have these details
  • Type in our web address yourself to ensure you are transacting with our server
  • Don’t click or open an attachment if you don’t know the email sender.If you receive a suspicious email or attachment from an email sender you know, send a new email to the individual to verify they sent it before opening
  • Do not send or respond to an email where the listed email address redirects you to a different email address when replying
  • Add Direct Banking Alerts to receive account activity notifications. Choose which events you wish to be notified about via text, email or both
  • Be aware of “sweetheart scams” where a stranger reaches out with a claim of romantic interest, and then eventually asks for your money or financial information
  • If you receive a phone call or text claiming to be from your credit union and asking for personal or financial information, call your credit union directly to verify the request before providing any info
  • Be on the lookout for fake charity scams, which ramp up after catastrophes and during the holidays; verify the legitimacy of a charity before contributing to any donation requests from an unknown source

We have provided a secure channel for our members to communicate with us. Once the information has reached your computer, it's up to you to protect it.

How to protect your computer

  • Use a firewall - This is software designed to create a barrier between your information and the rest of the world. Make sure the firewall is enabled before you go online
  • Install anti-virus software and anti-spyware and keep it up-to-dateIgnore spam emails or messages, beware of email messages from unknown parties, and never click on links or open attachments that accompany them
  • Keep your operating systems, apps, and browser up to date. Most updates include security fixes that prevent hackers from accessing your personal informationUse complex passwords. The more secure your passwords are, the harder it is for a hacker to invade your system

Signs your computer has been compromised

  • Your computer is running slower - it takes a long time to turn on or open up applications
  • Your webcam or microphone turns on by itself, or your cursor moves by itself
  • You start seeing more pop-up apps or plug-ins you don’t remember installing
  • You get a warning. If an anti-virus warning pops up, don’t ignore it or assume it’s deleted the virus
  • Your computer homepage looks different or has changed

How to protect your smartphone

  • Turn off Bluetooth. Keeping your Bluetooth on but dormant opens another back door for computer hackers
  • Don’t use unsecured public Wi-Fi. Password-free, widely used Wi-Fi networks have no security features and are prime targets for computer hackers
  • Get a security app and install it on your phone, just like you should for a computer
  • Clear your browsing history, and this will stop hackers from getting too much of your information if they can access your phone
  • Opt for a randomly generated six-number passcode

Signs your smartphone has been compromised

  • Your phone isn’t functioning probably and your receiving mysterious alerts and text
  • Your battery drains fast, and your phone feels hot. Phone spyware is running all the time, so it uses a lot of power and drains your battery in the process
  • Your friends are receiving calls or text messages from you, and you didn’t send them
  • New apps are appearing on your screen
  • You notice unusual activity with your accounts, watch for messages about password resets you didn’t make, or security messages notifying you that your email or social media accounts have been accessed using a new device

You should be extra vigilant when using publicly available computers. Even if you adopt these tips to protect your information, bear in mind that even benign programs, like popular desktop search programs, can pose a security risk.

How to protect yourself

  • Adjust the search program preferences so it does not store secure pages you wish to view
  • Remove the stored items via the Google Desktop results page by clicking on the 'Remove item's link
  • Ensure a safe and secure Internet session, only visit reputable sites
  • Contact us immediately if you suspect someone has gained knowledge of your PAC/PIN, or if you suspect any loss, theft or unauthorized use of your account
  • Change your passwords to your computer, Financial Institutions, and other password-protected websites that you visit
  • Run a full system scan on your computer, or take your computer to a professional to have it scanned and virus protection software installed
  • Call us to review your account and change any necessary passwords
  • File a case with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and contact the local RCMP

How to spot scams

The rental market is pretty tight right now. Finding a decent and affordable home feels nearly impossible for many. Fraudsters are taking advantage of this with rental listing scams.

In a typical rental listing scam, fraudsters create an attractive listing on popular sites like Facebook, Kijiji, or Craigslist - great area, great amenities & a great price, then scam you out of money or steal your information. Watch for warning signs when shopping for a rental.

Red Flags

  • You get an email directing you to a website asking for personal or financial information
  • Rent is lower than other similar places
  • You’re being asked for a deposit before any agreement or lease is in place, or you’ve even seen the place
  • You’re being instructed to send money to someone outside the country
  • No pictures of inside the property, only the outside (and those pictures don’t match the actual property or address)

How to Protect Yourself

  • Go to the address - if you can’t, use the internet (google maps) to see actual images of the property
  • Try a reverse image search to see if the photos were used elsewhere
  • Research the address to ensure it is not a duplicate post
  • Schedule a showing and confirm the landlord will be present
  • Ask the landlord for proof that they own the property, such as a utility bill for the property
  • Ask the landlord for identification, be very suspicious if they refuse to provide it
  • If you are renting from a new development, contact the builder to confirm ownership
  • Review all documents thoroughly, especially the lease/rental contract
  • Know your rights as a tenant
  • Choose a payment method other than cash for rent or deposit

If you or someone you know has become a victim of a rental scam, report it to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre, the RCMP, or your local police.

Smartphones are convenient when it comes to banking. You can quickly pay bills, e-transfer friends, transfer to your savings, even deposit a cheque. It’s so handy! But, what if you receive a cheque from someone you’ve never met asking you to deposit it and send some money back to them? This is a common scam tactic.

A remote deposit scam is when fraudsters contacts victims through channels like social media, job posting sites (like Craigslist), or emails and ask you to deposit a cheque for them. Once the deposit is made, they then ask for funds to be immediately transferred 'back' to them through e-transfer, wire, money orders, or even gift cards.

After the funds are sent to the fraudster, the deposited cheques will be returned/rejected and the victims will not receive the funds, often resulting in an overdrawn account.

Red Flags

  • Someone has contacted you and asked for access to your bank account to remote deposit a cheque
  • You’ve never met or heard of the person or company asking you to make the deposit
  • They ask you to quickly return funds for overpayment or a mistake made in the amount they sent
  • The words ‘for remote deposit only’ are written on the back. This is a red flag that the cheque is not legit

How to Protect Yourself

  • Never give out any personal information, including account number, access code for online banking, PIN for debit or credit cards. No legitimate company or business will ask for this information
  • Check your bank account regularly and report any unusual transactions to your financial institution immediately
  • If someone is sending you the money you are not expecting and from a source you’ve never heard of, be suspicious. Don’t deposit the cheque remotely, bring the cheque to your financial institution and have it verified
  • If you deposit the cheque, do not send any money, even if they keep bothering you. Wait for the cheque to clear
  • Never rush to send out money to anyone

An intercepted e-transfer occurs when a fraudster intercepts a legitimate e-transfer and deposits the funds into a different account before the intended recipient has a chance to accept and deposit.

Red flags

  • You receive an email from the recipient stating they are having trouble accepting the e-Transfer
  • You are asked to change the security question or provide the answer again via email
  • You are asked to change the email recipient address and resend
  • You receive an email from the recipient to change or confirm the password or they provide you with a password to use

How to protect yourself

  • Do not communicate the e-transfer security answer via email (or in the e-transfer security question memo section)
  • Choose a security question that is not easy to guess
  • Call or text the recipient if they cannot accept the e-Transfer to verify
  • Enroll for Autodeposit.  When you are registered for this feature, e-Transfers are automatically deposited to your account
  • Ensure the recipient’s contact details are correct
  • Contact us immediately if you sense something suspicious

Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing are scams where criminals attempt to get users to click a fraudulent link through a phone text message (smishing), email (phishing), or voicemail (vishing). These scams are becoming increasingly popular as cybercriminals try to take advantage of people who are more likely to fall for them, such as those who aren’t as familiar with technology or who may be experiencing a crisis.

What if you receive a text message/email from a company you trust and use, such as your financial institution, Amazon, BCHydro or Netflix. Cybercriminals will often send out phishing emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a financial institution or well-known company. They often use authentic-looking logos and branding from legitimate companies. The email will typically contain a link that directs you to a fake website that is designed to look like the real thing.

Once on the fake website, you are asked to input sensitive information, such as your login credentials or credit card number. This information is then used by the cybercriminals to commit fraud or identity theft.
Cybercriminals may also use phishing emails to install malware on your devices. The email contains an attachment that, when opened, will download and install the malware. This can allow the cybercriminals to gain access to your device and steal sensitive information or commit other malicious activities.

Red Flags

  • “We have detected unusual activity on your account. Please call this number to speak to a customer service representative.”
  • “You have won a free gift card! Click here to claim your prize.”
  • “Hi! We noticed that you’re a recent customer of ours. To finish setting up your account, please click this link and enter your personal information.”
  • “Urgent! Your bank account has been compromised. Please click this link to reset your password and prevent any further fraud.”
  • “Hey, it’s [person you know]! I’m in a bit of a bind and could really use your help. I sent you a link to my PayPal, could you send me some money?
    Red Flags of a Phishing Attack
  • Seems unusual or out of place
  • Asks you to click on a link or open an attachment
  • Ask for personal or sensitive information
  • Comes from an unknown sender
  • Contains typos or grammatical errors
  • Contains threatening or urgent language.

Immediate Action

If you clicked on a phishing link and/or provided sensitive information remember, it can happen to the best of us. There’s a few actions you can take to move forward and secure your account:

  • Go to the legitimate website, reset the password on your compromised account and enable two-factor authentication right away. If you are using that password for other accounts, change those too.
  • Forward the suspected phishing email to, where the Anti-Phishing Working Group will collect, analyze and share information to prevent future fraud.
  • Mark it as spam.
  • Run a full system scan using antivirus software, such as McAfee Antivirus or Norton Antivirus to check if your device was infected when you clicked the link. If you find viruses, follow these steps on your device. If you still can’t remove the virus, contact a reputable computer repair shop in your area.

If you’re selling an item and the buyer pays you, by cheque, far more than the asking price “by accident” and asks you to return the money, you’re likely a target of an overpayment scam.

Red flags

  • The email to purchase the merchandise has bad grammar or looks generic
  • You are being pressured or rushed to complete the transaction
  • The fraudster has no issue adding extra funds for shipping or they made a mistake and overpaid you
  • They do not live near you and want to purchase the item without even seeing it

How to protect yourself

  • Immediately end a transaction with anyone who overpays you
  • Cancel any order requesting a portion of the payment to be refunded
  • Never send money to get moneyWait for the cheque to clear before sending any merchandise in the mail
  • Only accept cash, certified cheque, or e-transfer as payment
  • Question anything that makes you feel suspicious – especially if it seems too good to be true
  • Sell locally if possible. Ask questions if the buyer is not local or wants to pay extra for shipping
  • Meet in a public, safe place to complete an exchange

Cryptocurrency has gained popularity and so have the investment scams. Fraudsters have found a new avenue to take people’s money. If someone has contacted you promoting a get-rich-quick investment, or your return on funds appears to be too good to be true – do your research before sending any money!

Did you know that from January 1st to August 31st of 2021 – the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported receiving 148 million inquires. In addition, in 2020, the BBB listed cryptocurrency scams as the #4 in the Top 10 Riskiest Scams list across Canada, with victims losing an average of $3617.

To help protect you, securities industry professionals must register with provincial and territorial securities regulators where they do business. Their registration and good standing help reassure investors (like you!) that the firms and individuals they deal with are properly qualified.

Red Flags

  • It’s difficult to find what you will be paying
  • If the exchange won’t take PayPal or a credit card
  • Fake mobile apps - Are there obvious misspellings in the copy or even the name of the app? Does the branding look inauthentic with strange coloring or an incorrect logo? Take note and reconsider downloading
  • Offers that come from Twitter or Facebook, especially if there seems to be an impossible result
  • Fake testimonials and cryptocurrency jargon to appear credible. Promises of enormous, guaranteed returns are most likely scams
  • If a caller, love interest, organization or anyone else insists on dealing in cryptocurrency

How to protect yourself

  • Do you research - Join the cryptocurrency community and start talking to people on forums and news sites
  • Find out what exchanges people use and which ones to stay away from
  • Look for clear information on fees and the operation in general
  • Look for a place that requires users to verify their identity multiple times and performs  regular updates to platforms to fix security vulnerabilities & a refund policy if cryptocurrency gets stolen
  • invest in more established cryptocurrencies with large followings and proven track records that are too big to be manipulated, like Bitcoin
  • Don’t invest in a company that has difficulty explaining their business plan, has no history or reputation in the cryptocurrency community and no paperwork to back up their claims
  • If you get sent a suspicious link don’t click it. Take a breath, slow down and wait. Carefully type the exact URL into your browser. Double check it

A family emergency imposter scam is a type of fraud where the scammer poses as a family member or friend in need of urgent financial assistance. You will typically be contacted by phone, email, or social media and told that your relative or friend is in some kind of trouble and needs money immediately. The scammer may say that they are stranded somewhere, have been in an accident, or have been arrested. They may also claim to be in the hospital or facing eviction. The scammer will often use emotional manipulation to convince you to send money, often through gift cards, wire transfer, or prepaid debit cards. They may also ask you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information.

There are several common tactics that scammers use in a family emergency imposter scam to trick people into giving them money or personal information, such as:

  • Posing as a family member or friend in need of urgent help. The scammer may contact you by phone, email, or social media and claim to be a family member or friend in need of money for an emergency. They may use personal information about you to make the request seem more credible.
  • Pretending to be a representative from a government agency or other organization. The scammer may contact you claiming to be a representative from a government agency or other organization. They may say that your family or friend is in trouble, and that you need to pay a fine or fee or else your family or friend will be arrested.
  • Using high-pressure tactics. The scammer may use high-pressure tactics to get you to send money quickly, before they have time to verify the information. They may claim that the money is needed urgently for medical treatment, or to avoid arrest or deportation. They may also threaten to hurt you or your family if you do not pay.

Red Flags of a Family Emergency Imposter Scam

  • The person contacts you out of the blue and asks for money, usually in the form of gift cards or wire transfers
  • They are reluctant to give you specific details about the emergency or situation.
  • The person pressures you for an immediate response
  • They create a sense of urgency by saying that your family or family member is in danger.
  • They ask you to keep the request for help a secret from other family members or friends.

Immediate Action:

If you think you are the victim of a family emergency imposter scam, it is important to take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some steps to take if you think you have been scammed:
  • Stop all contact with the individual(s) who contacted you.
  • Call or message the person who is supposedly in trouble using a phone number that you know is correct to check that they are okay.
  • If you provided financial information, like your credit card number or bank account information, contact your bank or Credit Card Company right away. They may be able to help you cancel the transaction or get your money back.
  • If you sent funds via gift card or money transfer, report the scam to the issuer. They might be able to help you stop the transaction. Find their contact information by visiting their legitimate website.
  • If you provided personal information, like your social insurance number, you may be at risk for identity theft. Keep an eye on your credit report and financial accounts for any unusual activity, and consider placing a freeze on your credit.
  • Save all information and messages provided to you by the scammer. You may need to provide this information to law enforcement if you file a report.

Learn more about family emergency imposter scams

Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. Ultimately, they want you to pay for a service you don't need, to fix a problem that you don't have. The scammer will ask for payment by wiring money, purchasing gift cards, prepaid cards, or e-transfer. They use these methods because they know those types of payments are hard to reverse.

Tech support scammers use many different tactics to trick people. Spotting these tactics will help avoid falling for the scam.

Red flags

  • Phone calls – You receive a call from a 'computer technician' at a well–known company. They say they've detected a problem with your computer, and to fix it, they need to remote access your computer
  • callers state that it's urgent. If you don't allow them to access your computer, you are at risk of losing everything. Your private information will be stolen, including your banking information and social insurance number
  • Pop-up warnings – A window appears on your computer screen, and it looks like an error message from your operating system or anti-virus software. It might even use logos from trusted companies or websites. Messages warn of a security issue and tell you to call a phone number to get help. Do NOT call the number; it is a direct call to the scammer, not a legitimate software or technology company
  • Incorrect Search Engine Results– Scammers will try to have their websites show up in online search results for tech support. They might also run ads online


How to protect yourself

  • Remember real security warnings and messages will never ask you to call a phone number
  • Always research companies you find online to see if they are legit
  • The best way to avoid falling victim to a tech support scam is to be wary and to protect your computer at all times
  • Hang up if you receive a call from a 'computer technician': remember most genuine software companies won't call to tell you that your computer is compromised
  • Keep your information secure: don't share your login information (any usernames or passwords) or computer information (IP address) with anyone
  • Protect your computer: a variety of products are available to protect your computer, from anti-viruses to anti-malware, to firewalls. When kept up to date, they can reject malicious programs, such as scareware (programs designed to trick a user into buying and downloading unnecessary and potentially dangerous software) from getting onto your computer
  • Update your web browser and operating system: They both have integrated defense systems that are updated regularly to keep pace with the latest virus and other malware

Identity theft happens when someone obtains your personal information and uses it to open accounts, apply for credit, or take out loans or mortgages in your name or even withdraw funds from your bank account.

Your credit can be affected before you even realize it! Fraudsters can also obtain fake passports and other government benefits in your name just by using your personal information. They may even sell your information to other criminals. What does personal information include?  Driver’s license, date of birth, health card number, social insurance, credit number (including your PIN). Any information that identifies you as you! Never take the security of your personal data for granted

Red flags

  • You are no longer receiving your bills in the mail
  • You see transactions you did not make on your credit card or bank statement
  • You are declined for loans or credit even though you have a good credit score/you are approved for a loan or credit card with a higher interest rate


How to protect yourself

  • Shred all documents containing personal information such as old statements and bills
  • Avoid public computers or Wi-Fi to access personal information or accounts. These are not secure and can put you at risk
  • Create strong and unique passwords for each and every online account. Passwords protect your devices and home Wi-Fi network
  • Be aware of suspicious looking emails and text messages. Fraudsters will create emails and websites that look similar to your bank, credit card company, or mortgage lender
  • Be social media savvy and don’t overshare. Use privacy controls on social media sites
  • Avoid giving out any personal information over the phone, text message, email or the internetUse a secure and reputable payment service when buying online. Use URL starting with’ https’ and a closed padlock symbol
  • Review your bank and credit card statements monthlyLimit the number of credit cards you carry in your wallet. This will minimize the impact if your wallet is stolen
  • Remember neither CRA or your financial institution will ask you to provide personal information by email or over the phone


If you are a victim of identity theft:

  1. Notify your financial institution and the local police
  2. Contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281 & Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
  3. Report the theft to a credit reporting agency such as Equifax or TransUnion
  4. Keep records of recent purchases, payments, and financial transactions
  5. Call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232) for information on where and how to replace identity cards such as your health card, driver’s license, or SIN if necessary

To report a fraudulent communication, or if your identity was stolen as part of a scam, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Phonebusters by email at or call 1-888-495-8501

An online shopping scam involves a scammer who uses the internet to trick you into buying fake or counterfeit items, or paying for services that don’t exist. Scammers will often create websites that look like popular online stores, or they contact you directly through email or social media. They may even offer great deals on popular items that are hard to find. Ultimately, the goal of the scammer is to steal your money without delivering the goods or services they promised. Once you pay, the scammer will either never send you the item, or send you an inferior fake.

There are many common online shopping scams that you should be aware of. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Social Media Shopping Scams: Scammers will often pose as a seller on sites such as Etsy, Poshmark or Facebook Marketplace. When you reach out to inquire about an item they ask for too much personal information, such as your full name, home address or financial information. They may also send fake invoices or receipts.
  • Phishing Scams: These scams try to trick you into giving away your personal information, such as your login credentials or credit card number. They usually come in the form of an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate online store.
  • Counterfeit Goods Scams: You find a great deal on a fake product, or you may be sent counterfeit goods instead of the real thing. Fake products may not work properly and can pose a safety hazard.
  • Payment Processing Scams: You are asked to pay using gift cards, wire transfer, or with a prepaid debit card. Once you make the payment, you never receive the product or service.
  • Fake Online Stores: These scam websites look like a legitimate online store, but they’re just trying to get your money. They may take your payment information and never send you the product, or the website may disappear altogether after a short time.
  • Shipping and Handling Scams: You are asked to pay for shipping and handling, but the product never arrives.
  • Auction Scams: You find a great deal on an auction site, but the seller is a scammer. After you pay, they never send you the product or they send you a fake product.

Red Flags

  • The website or ad looks unprofessional or ‘sketchy’. This can be anything from typos and poor grammar to a generic web design.
  • The seller is asking for personal information before you even make a purchase. This includes things like your social insurance number, birthdate or phone number.
  • You can’t find any contact information for the website or business. A legitimate website should always have easily accessible contact information.
  • The website is offering a deal that’s too good to be true. Be especially wary of deals involving designer items, weight loss products and vacation packages.
  • You’re redirected to different website during the checkout process
  • You don’t receive a confirmation email after making a purchase.

Immediate Action

If you think you are the victim of an online shopping scam, it is important to take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some steps to take if you think you have been scammed:

  • Keep all documentation related to the scam, including any emails, messages or receipts. You may need to provide this information to law enforcement if you file a report.
  • Submit a complaint with the seller. If the seller doesn’t resolve the issue, you can contact a government agency or consumer protection organization for help, such as your local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau or your state attorney general.
  • Report the incident to the website or social media platform where the transaction took place.
  • If you provided financial information, like your credit card number or bank account information, contact your bank or credit card company right away. They may be able to help you cancel the transaction or get your money back.
  • If you paid using gift cards or a money transfer, contact the issuer. They might be able to help you stop the transaction.
  • If you provided personal information, like your Social Security number, you may be at risk for identity theft. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will make it harder for the scammer to open new accounts in your name.

Romance scams cost Canadians more than $18.3 million in 2019, surpassing all other forms of fraud in terms or money lost according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. It is reported as the number 1 scam in Canada in terms of dollars lost.

Scammers will create fake online profiles to attract their victims. They might use a fictional name, or have steal the identity of real people. They will go to great lengths to gain their victims interest and trust.

Red flags

  • It seems too good to be true (it probably is)
  • They paint a picture of an extravagant lifestyle or career
  • They want to communicate personally through email or another message service and not on the originally site you met on
  • You have to pay for each message you send/receive
  • They want to rush the dating process and move the relationship along quickly
  • They talk a lot about trust
  • Their profile picture is a generic image
  • They postpone meeting or video chat because they are traveling or live overseas
  • They may make spelling, grammatical errors, or use phrases that don’t make sense
  • Scammers may hint at financial troubles, they may share a ‘hard luck’ story from their past
  • They ask for money! (The ultimate red flag)

How to protect yourself

  • Never send money or give financial details on a dating site
  • Trust your instincts!
  • Ask questions, carefully read the terms and conditions before signing up for any online dating site
  • Use legitimate and reputable dating sites
  • Check websites addresses carefully! Scammers often mimic real web addresses
  • Know which services are free, which cost money, and how to cancel your account
  • Use their profile photo in a reverse image search to see where else it appears on the internet
  • Always talk to a trusted loved one before you send money to people you have met online