When you receive a telemarking call, you may wonder how the person you’re talking to got your contact information. Even though it’s often impossible to track down the source of your leaked phone number, you can still take certain precautions to protect yourself against direct fraud attempts.
There’s a good reason why nearly three-quarters of Canadians are concerned about identity theft1 : criminals have more than one trick up their sleeve, and they use all sorts of techniques to scam you with fraudulent calls.
Ignore calls from unknown numbers, listen to your voicemail, then decide whether or not to call back. If it’s not hidden on your call display, check the number in the Yellow Pages: people list phone numbers there that appear to be used by scammers.
If you decide to pick up, ask the caller to provide their name and see if the caller is reluctant to share it with you. If you can’t identify the caller with certainty, hang up. Also ask for the caller’s business phone number and check it against the contact information on the organization’s official Contact Us webpage.
Don’t answer yes/no questions. As voice recognition becomes more sophisticated and in vogue, criminals may record your voice to steal your identity. Instead, answer in full sentences (which are unusable in this way), don’t provide your name and don’t reveal any information about yourself.
Be aware that financial institutions will never contact you by text message: text messages alerting you about fraudulent transactions in your bank account or asking you for personal information are definitely a scam! Don’t answer, don’t send any money and don’t provide any personal information.
If you witness a fraud attempt, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
1 CPA Canada Fraud Survey 2018: https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/the-cpa-profession/about-cpa-canada/media-centre/2018/march/cpa-canada-fraud-survey