Pattie Lovett-Reid: Be on the lookout for scammers

Pattie Lovett-Reid: Be on the lookout for scammers


Scammers are back so don’t be fooled.

Fraudsters posing as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are targeting people by phone and text, and going so far as to threaten them with arrest or even large fines if they don’t provided them with the information they are looking for.

This current scam seems to be associated with online purchases being blocked at the border and the goods being found to be illegal. The threat is for immediate payment or face arrest and/or potential jail time.

I personally received this threat via text. I deleted it immediately.

Logically we all know that no government agency, legitimate business or financial institution would threaten a client, ever!

While most of these calls are easy to identify as being fake, the scamming techniques are always evolving.

In fact, the CBSA is warning Canadians via Twitter to beware of scammers, saying, “We will never call, text or email you asking for your SIN or credit card information.”

Here are few ways that immediately signal you should hang up or delete the message before engaging:

  • Any sort of threat at all such as a fine or arrest for non-compliance to their requests.

  • You are asked to pay a fine immediately with gift cards, cryptocurrency or any other usual form of payment.

  • There is a recommendation you are entitled to government benefits or relief programs and suggest you apply immediately and the fraudster then asks for personal information to help facilitate the process.

  • You are asked for your credit card number. No legitimate source would ever request this information.

There are numerous scams going on, which even include duct cleaning. If you have a furnace, we all need to clean our ducts eventually. Sadly, the company likely doesn’t exist despite it appearing as legitimate, and by the time you determine this, your payment is gone.

You may find yourself on the receiving end of a call or text and wonder if maybe, just maybe, it is legitimate.

A word of caution: Never feel pressured to respond. Look closely for obvious signs of a scam, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Scammers prey on all, but the vulnerable can be more susceptible.

If you feel the need to verify whether a call is legitimate, ask the caller for their name, location and phone number. Call the Canada Revenue Agency or CBSA with the number provided on the website to determine whether the information is real.

The sophistication of these scams in some cases can be scary, so never hesitate to report it by calling 1-888-495-8501 or report it online via the

If by chance you may have released sensitive personal information don’t be ashamed, it can happen. However, contact your financial service provider and the authorities, immediately.

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