Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre ~ RCMP


Educate Your Mature Neighbours, Friends and Relatives!



There are many known scams, pitches and fraud types, including variations thereof, with new ones invented daily. Browse this section for a list and description of common ones. Also refer to the Little Black Book of Scams for further tips.

The word phishing comes from the analogy that Internet scammers are using email lures to ‘fish’ for passwords and financial data from the sea of Internet users.

Phishing, also called “brand spoofing”; is the creation of email messages and Web pages that are replicas of existing, legitimate sites and businesses. These Web sites and emails are used to trick users into submitting personal, financial, or password data. These emails often ask for information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social insurance numbers, and passwords that will be used to commit fraud.

The goal of criminals using brand spoofing is to lead consumers to believe that a request for information is coming from a legitimate company. In reality it is a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing fraud.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information.
  • Look for misspelled words.
  • Contact the financial institution immediately and report your suspicions.


Alert: RCMP email fraud Notice to Appear In Court – Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Division of Court Services


The CAFC is warning individuals about a new phishing scam using the name, logo and website header of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Traditional phishing emails are designed to trick the victim into thinking they are dealing with their own financial institution. Scammers are now using the same tactics to capture personal information by using the name of legitimate organizations, like the RCMP, the Better Business Bureau and courier services like FedEx.

Recently, the CAFC received a report where a business received an email with the subject line: “Notice to Appear In Court – Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Division of Court Services“. The email contains an attachment that may contain a virus, malware and/or spyware. Alternatively there may be an embedded hyperlink that contains malicious software.

How to protect yourself

  • Beware of unsolicited emails from individuals or organizations prompting you to click on an attachment or link.
  • Watch for spelling and formatting errors.
  • Check the embedded hyperlink in the suspicious email by hovering your mouse over the link to verify the address.
  • Do not click on any attachments; they can contain viruses and spyware.
  • Go with your gut. If an email seems fishy, it probably is.






Extortion scams


Terrorist Threat Scam

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is receiving reports of an email extortion campaign with links to terrorism. This scam email campaign is similar to other previously identified ‘hitman’ type scams. The CAFC is advising the public to ignore these emails which use death threats to frighten and scam consumers.

Commonly, these e-mails scam campaigns will claim that “you have been betrayed by someone” and that they have been hired to “kill you”. The e-mails go on to say that fees are required to be paid to “spare your life”.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited emails
  • If you have questions or concerns please contact your local police

iTunes Cards

iTunes gift cards are vastly used by consumers to purchase music and movies. The CAFC has seen an increase in complaints where fraudsters request payment through the purchase of iTunes gift cards.

In 2016 alone, the CAFC has received 46 complaints involving the use of iTunes gift cards as payment with losses totaling $85,041. The most common approach reported has fraudsters impersonating the real Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Consumers receive a call or text message claiming that they owe “back taxes” as the result of an audit. The payment must be made immediately to avoid a fine. However, the recipient is told that the outstanding warrant that can be avoided if the payment is made promptly. In many cases, individuals are told they will be deported if the taxes are not paid right away. Consumers are instructed to purchase and activate iTunes gift cards and provide the codes back to the fraudsters.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • If you are asked to pay for any service or product with an iTunes gift card, don’t do it, it’s a scam.
  • Ask yourself why the CRA would be asking for payment through an iTunes gift card over the phone or text message when they already have you on file as a taxpayer.
  • Contact the CRA to confirm that you in fact owe back taxes, or are entitled to a refund, before providing any personal or banking information.
  • More information about fraud scams involving the CRA.


Since February of 2012 the CAFC has been receiving complaints from Canadians who have received pop-up messages on their computer stating, “This IP address was used to visit websites containing pornography, child pornography, zoophile and child abuse. Your computer also contains video files with Pornographic content, elements of violence and child pornography! Spam-messages with terrorist motives were also sent from your computer.” The messages are socially engineered to appear as if coming from either the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and tell the consumer they need to pay $100-$250 via Bitcoin, Ukash or PaySafe Card to unlock their computer.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • Beware of pop-up messages or a banner with a ransom request.


Ransomware – CryptoLocker

Since Oct 1st the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has received five (5) complaints regarding a new variation of Ransomware using CryptoLocker malware. Ransomware is malware that restricts access to infected computers and requires victims to pay a ransom in order to regain full access.

The malicious software is being spread through email attachments. Once opened, CryptoLocker installs itself to the home or business computer and encrypt a variety of file types such as images, documents and spreadsheets. The malware searches for files to encrypt on all drives and in all folders.

Once the malicious software is installed on the computer, a pop up appears claiming the files are blocked and that the data will be lost unless the private key is obtained from the scammers. In order to obtain the private key, a ransom payment in the amount of $300.00 is demanded to be paid by Bitcoin, UKash, Green Dot or other digital payment systems.

The user is given approximately 72 hours before the private key is destroyed and the files are lost forever.

Once the malware has encrypted files on a victim’s computer there is no way to decrypt them without the private key and by paying the ransom there is no guarantee that the files will be decrypted.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • Never send money to “unlock” a computer.
  • Businesses should have a “emergency preparedness” cyber security plan in place.
  • Businesses should independently verify any attack with their internet service provider or a computer repair professional.
  • Never click on a pop up that claims your computer has a virus, if you cannot access anything on the computer beyond the pop-up screen your computer is infected.
  • Avoid opening email and email attachments from unknown sources, especially .zip files.
  • Ensure your anti-virus software is active and up to date and regularly schedule scans to search and remove already existing malware.
  • Keep your operating system and software up to date.
  • Make regular backups of important files.
  • Be vigilant against clicking on links within emails.



Victims are lured into an online relationship through social media or pornographic websites. As the relationship builds, victims are encouraged to use the computer’s camera and the “scammer” will coerce the victim to perform a sexual act in front of the camera. The victim is later advised that the event was recorded and unless a sum of money is paid the video will be released through various online websites such as YouTube. The transfer of money is requested through money services businesses such as Western Union, MoneyGram and Ukash. Some consumers have endured many emotional stresses in their lives and being caught in this scenario can be too much to handle. In the last year the CAFC is aware of two suicides in Ontario that are directly related to the Extortion scam.

Warning sign(s) – How to protect yourself

  • Deny any request to perform an illicit act over the internet.

Denial of Service (DOS) Attacks

The third variation of the extortion scam being reported at the CAFC involves businesses in Canada reporting that their website and internet services are under attack or have been taken down by hackers. These attacks are commonly known as denial of service or distributed denial of service attacks and are carried out by cyber thugs attempting to extort money from Canadian businesses to restore their web services.


The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre continues to receive complaints on the hitman scam and is advising the public to ignore these e-mails which use death threats to frighten and scam consumers.

These e-mails claim that “you have been betrayed by someone” and that they have been hired to “kill you”. The e-mails go on to say that at a cost (usually double what the hitman was paid), the scammer will cancel the contract and provide the name of the individual who hired him.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre recommends anyone receiving these e-mails not to respond. In addition to scamming the victims financially, these fraudsters also hope to acquire personal information so that they can steal your identity.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has many copies of these emails on file. Should you receive such a solicitation, do not respond to it and delete it.



How are you doing today?, I was paid to assassinate you,but I felt it will be right for me to inform you and hear from you,before carrying out my operations. I honestly tell you that this contract was given to me by a close business friend of yours, with effect to your reading this e-mail,note that you are not safe. I will appreciate if you to act very fast to this mail or else I will be forced to carry out my operation. I have all your informations with me now,as am talking to you. If you feel contacting a security firm or the police will make you safe,I want to also inform you that it will not stop me,it will rather make me to carry out my operations very fast,so stay cool and contact me for negotiations.Note that I sent this email after keeping an eye on You for over ten days,so you can see what I meant by telling you that a security firm can’t save you.Just waiting to hear from you,so I know if I can change my mind under the grounds of negotiation, and I think,after negotiation I will be ready to inform you about who sent me. I am a member of a well trained group in the middle east,we take part in Suicide bombing and special killings, For top government officials. Note that I am all around you,so make sure you don’t do anything more than contacting me,if not you will regret it. I await your comment on this.


Bomb threat

Consumers should be alerted to an email that is being sent out by a supposed assassin that has planted a bomb. The sender demands a large sum of money in return for not carrying out the mission.

Should you receive such a solicitation, do not respond to it and delete it.



This is the only way I could reach you people, no matter who you are, make sure this gets to your manager. If not you have yourself to blame, my group was paid to plant an un-activated bomb in your building (hotel lodge) till a certain date it will be activated which is best known to our employer. I know what am about to do is a betrayal to my group, I can disconnect the bomb and take it away, but this will between us alone, I need the sum of $500,000, $250,000 will be paid to an account I will provide for you and the balance will be paid after the disconnection, if you agree with me get back to me, if no, don?t even think of contacting me. Finally do not involve the cops/police on this, because if you do, none of your apology will be accepted to me (remember, I took risk for sending you this information), if we have a deal, you know what to do.


Were you a victim?

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

Competition Bureau of Canada
Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358

Ontario Provincial Police
Toll-free: 1-888-310-1122

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Toll-free: 1-866-461-3222

Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)