Alert! Phone scams and how to prevent and report them

Alert: Phone Scam

Recently, an Atlantic CFIB member was the victim of a phone scam.  Someone hacked into the business' phone lines and made over $4,000 of long distance calling. This fraud, unfortunately, is not new. In fact, an Ontario member saw a $300 phone bill become a $30,000 nightmare in just one weekend. Sadly, over the last few months, CFIB has heard from several members in many provinces complaining about this. What you may not know, but need to, is that victims of phone fraud are on the hook to pay those fraudulent charges.

What CFIB is doing

CFIB is writing letters to all major phone companies to ask about their security policy. Our legislative team has met with the  the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services and will be exploring possible solutions.

In the meantime you need to be aware: there is no protection in Canada against your long-distance telephone line being billed by a determined hacker. 

Some tips to reduce the risk:

1. Educate yourself on the various phone scams that are out there - here's a brief list:

  • Voicemail fraud: Hackers gain access, generally through voicemails with simple passwords, to phone lines and place long distance calls.  These calls do not appear any different from other legitimate calls placed by the business.
  • Subscription fraud: Someone opens an account using your personal information. 
  • Clip on Fraud: Someone clips onto phone cables either inside or outside a building and attaches a phone to make calls.  
  • Calling card theft: Someone steals a calling card and makes calls

2. Change voicemail passwords regularly, avoid using simple codes, and never share the code with anyone
3. Guard personal information carefully
4. If you notice someone working on your phone lines that you do not recognize or who seems suspicious, ask them for ID.
5. If you suspect fraud, contact your telecommunications provider immediately. 
6. If you have been billed on account of long-distance fraud and not been able to resolve the issue with your telecom provider, contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services. His office has been able to resolve fraud cases depending on the circumstances.