What is a phishing scam?
Phishing scams are emails, websites, or other electronic communications falsely made to look like they are coming from a legitimate source – even though they really don’t. These phishing emails or websites usually include a “call to action” that tries to trick you into handing over personal information: like your username, password, banking, or credit card information.
What will a phisher do with my information?
If a "phisher" successfully acquires your information, the phisher could use it for identity theft, to charge your credit card, to take money from your bank account, or to sell your personal information. There’s really no limit.
How do phishers pull off these scams?
Phishing is a form of fraud. These fraudsters usually use a simple technique to trick consumers, like:
- professional-looking materials and websites that steal real logos and letterhead;
- impersonation of government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes;
- demanding fees up front, before promised goods or services will be delivered;
- demanding funds to settle a threat of legal action; and
- falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources.
How can I protect myself from phishing attempts?
Always be careful when responding to a request for your personal information. Beware of unsolicited emails asking you to click on an attachment or open a link. Look for clues that suggest the request might not be from a legitimate source – for example, spelling and formatting errors, or an odd domain name. Hover your mouse over the link to verify the address to which embedded hyperlinks are actually sending you.
If you’re not sure a request is from a legitimate source, do not click on any links or attachments
Have phishers ever impersonated TekSavvy?
Yes! Us, and every other ISP. Our name and brand have been illegitimately used by fraudsters in the past to request financial information.
What are some examples?
- One online phishing scam takes advantage of the fact that all Internet users leak their IP address. The scam looks up the IP address and its registration information to identify the associated Internet Service Provider (ISP). With this information, they generate a website pop-up that appears to promise a free gift from your ISP in exchange for completing a survey. This scam asks for your credit card information to send you the free gift, but then instead makes unauthorized charges to your credit card.
In case we weren’t clear, TekSavvy does not endorse, or associate ourselves in any way, with this phishing scam. In fact, we condemn it. For more information, see our blog post here: https://blogs.teksavvy.com/phishing-season.
- We have also heard about phishing scams that piggy-back on TekSavvy’s actual contests, like our "12 Days of Giveaways". TekSavvy will never request payment information to enter or win one of our contests.
- The TekSavvy logo and name have also been used as part of a "cheque cashing scam". This is a scam where counterfeit cheques are printed in a company’s name, and mailed to individuals. When the cheque is cashed, the scammer contacts the person who cashed it, posing as the company to advise that a mistake has been made--and asks the victim to transfer a portion of the money back to them. In the end, the deposited cheque bounces because it is fake, but not before the victim is out of all of the money transferred to the scammer, is out any fees for the bounced cheque, and may even be in trouble for having attempting to deposit a fake cheque. TekSavvy will always let you know in advance if it is sending you a cheque.
How would fraudsters know who my ISP is?
It's pretty simple – this information is publicly available. ISPs like TekSavvy lease the use of IP addresses, which are assigned to it by ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers). Anyone can easily, and automatically, look up your IP address in ARIN’s database to identify your ISP.
How would scammers get my info through a random online survey?
Scam surveys often promise fantastic prizes in exchange for filling out a short survey. They will then request your credit card or banking information to cover the shipping charges or taxes on your prize. Once they have your financial information, they will use it to make unauthorized charges and you may never receive the promised prize.
How can I avoid scams that pose as TekSavvy?
Arm yourself with the following savvy tips about TekSavvy and its practices:
- TekSavvy will never ask for your banking or credit card information online, outside of our secure forms which are used to sign up for our actual services, or our My Account customer portal.
- TekSavvy will never employ the use of "pop-up" surveys or contests that appear randomly while you are viewing other websites. We run contests from our contest hub.
- TekSavvy will never ask you to provide payment information in order to enter or win a contest. You will never be asked to pay the taxes or shipping for a prize won through any of our contests. We will cover all of the expenses so you need only sit back and enjoy your prize.
- TekSavvy will never send you unsolicited cheques. Usually, we apply credits to your account for use against future service charges. You should only receive a cheque from us if you have explicitly requested a refund by cheque, in which case you would already know the value of the refund amount and expect that a cheque is on the way.
- If you are not sure about whether an email communication or offer is legitimately from TekSavvy, please contact us directly at 1.877.779.1575, or reach out to us via chat on our website or on social media.
I'd like to learn more about scams to keep myself safe online.
Great idea! The Government of Canada has a number of fantastic resources available to help you recognize fraud, scams, and take steps to prevent fraud:
- Competition Bureau and the Fraud Prevention Forum portal: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_00122.html
- Little Black Book of Scams: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – fraud types: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – tips to protect yourself: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/protectyourself-protegezvous/index-eng.htm
I'd like to report a suspected scam, what should I do?
First, if the scam involves our name or brand, please let us know by giving us a call at 1-877-779-1575. We would appreciate any details you can provide about the scam, such as screenshots of what the scam looked like, what kind of information was requested, and how and at what URL you stumbled onto it.
TekSavvy takes your online security and privacy seriously, and we will investigate scams that mislead our customers as we become aware of them. At the very least, we will update this article with details about known scams so that other customers are less likely to fall for them.
Second, you can always report fraudulent or suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
If you believe you have provided financial information to a scam like a phishing scheme, you should contact your financial institutions immediately.