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October 8, 2019

Beware of calls asking for your Social Insurance Number

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has been contacted by individuals who have indicated people are calling them with claims that their Social Insurance Numbers (SINs) have been compromised. The callers then ask the individuals to confirm their SIN over the phone and sometimes claim the individual needs a new one.

The fraudulent callers often say they are from government departments. Sometimes the phone numbers appear to be legitimate.

However, Service Canada and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre have confirmed these calls are fraudulent and that fraudsters are masking their phone number with legitimate government phone numbers in an effort to gain access to personal or financial information.

Some of the calls have occurred following highly publicized privacy breaches. In several instances, the callers have mentioned a real and recent data breach during their call.

The OPC’s key tips to help reduce the risk of identity theft and other types of fraud include:

  • Don’t give personal information such as a credit card number or Social Insurance Number over the phone unless it’s to a trusted person or you initiated the call yourself.
  • If someone calls unexpectedly and requests your personal or financial information, try calling the organization they are representing to verify that the request is legitimate. Reputable firms never ask for personal information without significant safeguards.

The Competition Bureau’s Little Black Book of Scams also offers more information on identity theft and other types of scams.

You can report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

For more information about how to recognize a scam from someone who may be pretending to be a representative of government, please see this notice from Employment and Social Development Canada.

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