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Fraud and Identity Theft

It’s not always easy to spot a scam. Clever thieves are constantly finding new ways to trick people into giving up their personal information and/or money.

Fraud is intentional deception for personal gain or to cause another person to suffer damages, usually financial losses.Types of fraud include identity theft, phishing, pyramid schemes, and counterfeiting.

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information such as your name, address and SIN, your banking information or your credit card information.  Thieves are able to use the information they steal to open new bank accounts, order cell phones, take out mortgages on the victim’s property and buy cars or furniture.

If you suspect that you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft, help is available through victim services and other resources.

Signs of Identity Theft

  • Purchases not made by you appear on your monthly bills

    • Bills arrive on accounts you don't own
    • Collection agency calls about unknown debt
    • Credit card/bank statements don't arrive
    • Your credit report shows mystery debts.

What to do next?

  • Call the police and notify them about your ID theft.

    • Call your financial institutions for information about cancelling and reissuing credit and debit cards and putting a fraud alert on file at your local banking institution.
    • If you wish to contact victim services, call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808. Victim services can help you directly and can also refer you to other community agencies.
    • Put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting Equifax: 1-866-779-6440.
    • Do a follow-up check three months after to ensure that someone has not tried to use your identity again. 
    • Contact Canada Post if your mail is missing.
    • Advise your telephone, cable, and utilities that someone using your name could try to open new accounts fraudulently. 
    • Keep records of steps taken to clear your name and re-establish your credit.
    • If you have questions about identity theft, don’t hesitate to ask a victim service worker.

What resources are available?

VictimLink BC

VictimLink BC is a toll-free 24/7 information and support line that provides information and referrals to all victims of crime, and crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including sexual assault, violence in relationships, elder abuse, and adult survivors of physical or sexual abuse. VictimLink BC provides service in 110 languages, including 17 North American Aboriginal languages.

  • Phone: toll free 1-800-563-0808. 24 hours every day
  • TTY (Teletypewriter): through Information Services Vancouver TTY service at (604) 875-0885 (collect calls accepted)
  • Multilingual

The Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is the central agency in Canada that collects information on telephone, Internet and letter fraud and identity theft complaints. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre plays a key role in educating the public about specific fraudulent telemarketing pitches.

The Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice. Here, you can file a consumer fraud complaints, find tips on how to spot fraud, and read victim stories and news about new campaigns to combat fraud.

Reporting Economic Crime On-Line
RECOL allows victims of economic crime and others to quickly report and distribute useful information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their partners. The RECOL website is secure and information transmitted to and from the site is encrypted. Furthermore, personal information provided to the RCMP is protected under the Government of Canada's Privacy Act.

Canadian Consumer Information Gateway
An Office of Consumer Affairs website offering the very best consumer information, tools and services available from the most objective and reliable sources.

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