Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

December 18, 2007 11:50 ET

Competition Bureau: Tis the Season... to Beware of Bogus Offers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 18, 2007) - The Competition Bureau, in collaboration with the Retail Council of Canada, is warning consumers to be on the lookout this holiday season for bogus offers from scammers posing as well-known retailers.

Over the past few months, there has been an increase in the number of complaints from consumers who have been contacted via email and through the mail by bogus retailers attempting to fraudulently obtain credit card information and other personal information.

There are a variety of scams being used, including:

1. Consumers receiving false offers of promotional deals, originally priced at $100 for just $10. Victims are asked to provide credit card information by email or personal information via mail, along with a cheque for $10.

2. Consumers receiving phony notices of job offers from well-known retailers. Consumers are required to provide personal information via email or through the mail.

3. Consumers receiving mock notifications suggesting they have won a prize, a trip or a gift card promotion, and requiring the consumer to provide additional personal information.

Tips for Consumers:

- Do not provide personal information or credit card information unless you know exactly how the information will be used. Ask questions, read the Privacy Policy on the Web site, and check with external sources to determine credibility.

- Take time to think about the offer. Scam artists will pressure you to act now, saying the offer will expire or go to another person if you do not act now.

- Be aware that responding to collect a prize for a contest that you did not enter could mean that your name is added to a "sucker list" that is made available to deceptive and fraudulent marketers.

- Remember that the right information can help you avoid falling for fraud. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

New scams are being invented daily. Scam artists are well organized and use the latest technologies and strategies to victimize Canadians. It is illegal under the Competition Act to send out mail or email solicitations that contain representations that are false or misleading in a material respect.

In January 2007, the Retail Council of Canada formed a national retail organized crime task force to specifically raise the level of awareness associated with retail crime in Canada through collaborative partnerships with government, law enforcement and industry stakeholders.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. We contribute to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

FRAUD: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.

Contact Information

  • Competition Bureau
    Communications & Stakeholder Relations
    Maureen McGrath
    Senior Advisor
    Retail Council of Canada
    Retail Organized Crime Task Force
    Rita Estwick
    Director, Loss Prevention
    416-922-0553, x. 240