Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

March 30, 2007 10:55 ET

Competition Bureau Canada: Your Bogus Cheque is in the Mail

Fraud: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 30, 2007) - Fraudulent cheques are being used by scammers to commit various types of fraud such as overpayment schemes, phoney employment opportunities and lottery scams.

During the final week of Fraud Prevention Month, the Competition Bureau is warning consumers to be skeptical if they receive a questionable cheque in the mail.

Scammers prey on all consumers, regardless of age, education or income, targeting them through telephone, mail solicitation and email. Although the offers are often personally addressed to potential victims, they are posted using bulk mail, with thousands of consumers receiving the exact same offer. In 2006, the Competition Bureau received over 8,400 complaints from consumers who had received one of these phoney cheques or prize notices.

Here are some examples of fraudulent cheque scams:

- A scammer purchases a $2,000 laptop on eBay and sends the vendor a bogus cheque for $3,000. The scammer will then contact the vendor and ask that they send a cheque to cover the overpayment of $1,000.

- As part of a phoney employment opportunity, victims will answer classified ads in the newspaper where they are asked to evaluate a particular wire transfer service, which allows people to send and receive money worldwide. They will receive a bogus cheque for $4,000 and will then wire $3,000 from their own bank account to validate the service. The other $1,000 is supposed to be payment for their work.

- If you receive a letter from a lottery corporation, which states that you are required to cash an enclosed cheque to pay the tax and clearance fees in order to receive your prize, chances are it's a scam. Legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never charge fees to deliver your prize. Furthermore, how can you win if you've never entered a contest?

New scams are being invented daily. Scam artists are up-to-date and well-organized. They use the latest trends and sophisticated techniques; they have limitless imagination.

If deals like these sound too good to be true, they probably are. Hang up the phone, do not respond to questionable contests by mail, shred unwanted personal documents and call PhoneBusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, at 1-888-495-8501. PhoneBusters gathers evidence, identifies new trends and alerts law enforcement in Canada and abroad. By reporting, you can prevent others from becoming victims and help put an end to fraud.

It is illegal under the Competition Act to send out mail solicitations that contain false or misleading representations. If you feel that you have been mislead by a mail solicitation or would like more information on the application of the Competition Act, contact the Competition Bureau at 1-800-348-5358, or visit the Web site at

The Competition Bureau chairs the Fraud Prevention Forum, which is a concerned group of private sector firms, consumer and volunteer groups, government agencies and law enforcement organizations committed to fighting fraud aimed at consumers and businesses. Through its partners, the Forum works to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to recognize it, report it and stop it.

For more information on the Forum or Fraud Prevention Month, visit:

Contact Information

  • Competition Bureau
    Maureen McGrath (Media enquiries)
    613-296-2187 (cell.)
    Competition Bureau
    Information Centre (General enquiries)