Security advisory for retailers: Increase in identity theft and SIN extortion - Retail Council of Canada
Loss Prevention

Security advisory for retailers: Increase in identity theft and SIN extortion

July 8, 2020

Identity theft and fraud

The CAFC is noting an increase in identity fraud reporting. Fraudsters are using personal information about Canadians to apply for government benefits, credit cards, bank accounts, cell phone accounts or even take over social media and email accounts. It is important that Canadians take steps to secure their personal and financial information and know what to do when identity fraud occurs.

Read bulletin and learn what to “Recognize, Reject and Report”

SIN extortion

The CAFC is also noting an increase in telephone calls where fraudsters claim that your Social Insurance Number (SIN) has been blocked, compromised or suspended. Fraudsters may add that this is due to your SIN being linked to fraudulent or criminal activity.

Canadians who receive these calls are asked to provide their SIN and other personal & financial information (DOB, name, address, account balances, etc). Victims who provide their personal information to fraudsters are at risk of identity fraud. Some fraudsters may also press or trick Canadians into withdrawing and depositing their money into a safe account where it cannot be frozen or seized during their investigation. None of the information they provide is true.

These fraudsters are mostly pretending to be calling from government agencies. Some popular examples include: Service Canada, Department of Justice, Canada Revenue Agency, Government of Canada, and RCMP, amongst other agencies. As well, the fraudsters are manipulating the caller ID to display phone numbers starting with your area code or the legitimate phone number of these agencies.

Warning signs

  • Criminals use “call-spoofing” to mislead consumers. This technology is easily available. Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate.
  • No government agency will contact you and tell you that your SIN is blocked.

How to protect yourself

View Bulletin (PDF)

Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself. If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at