In general, telemarketing refers to the selling of goods or services, for example anything from magazines to chimney and carpet cleaning services, photocopier toner, and even the solicitation of charitable donations over the telephone.

Canadians can sign up for the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) which may help them reduce the number of telemarketing calls they receive and maintain their personal privacy. Canadians can make a complaint about telemarketers who violate the DNCL rules by contacting DNCL operators via their website or by telephone.

The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) offers a Do Not Contact Service which allows consumers to reduce the number of marketing offers they receive by mail. Visit www.the-cma.org for more information on this service. Both these services are free of charge.

Deceptive Telemarketing Practices

While many legitimate businesses use the telephone to make their sales, so do an increasing number of fraudulent companies.

To report deceptive telemarketing practices, contact the Competition Bureau or your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office. You may also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also learn about consumer scams and find advice on how to deal with them on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) website.

Tips for Smart Telephone Shopping

  • When you are told that you have won a prize, do not commit to purchase any product or pay any additional fee in order to collect your prize.
  • Always keep a record of the name, address and phone number of the person and the company you dealt with, the goods you ordered, the date of your purchase, the amount you paid (including shipping and handling) and the method of payment.
  • Keep a record of any delivery date that was promised.
  • If you are told that the shipment will be delayed, write the date of that notice in your records along with the new shipping date, if you’ve agreed to wait longer.

Use Caution and Common Sense

  • Don’t be pressured into acting immediately or without having all the information you need.
  • When an offer sounds too good to be true, think twice before making your final decision.
  • Shop around and compare costs and services.
  • Check with your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office or the Better Business Bureau to see whether there have been any complaints about the company.
  • Even if you have signed up for the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), registered charities are still allowed to call for donations, and certain other organizations-such as companies conducting polls or surveys, political parties, and newspapers looking for subscriptions-can also continue to contact you. As well, if you’ve done business with a company in the last 18 months, that company is consi dered to have a relationship with you and is allowed to call.
  • Deceptive notices of winning a prize may constitute an offence under the Competition Act. To report a deceptive notice of winning a prize, contact the Competition Bureau.

Vishing

Vishing, or voice phishing, occurs when a fraudulent company uses a new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) through the telephone system to falsely claim to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam people into disclosing personal information. For example, some people may pretend to be calling from governments, financial institutions, as well as online auctions and their payment services.

Typically, there is a recorded incoming message that uses a fraudulent caller ID that matches the identity of a misrepresented organization. The message directs unsuspecting users to another telephone number, and they are then told to enter their personal information using their telephone keypad. Criminals can then capture the key tones and convert them back to numerical format, stealing the information.

Vishing is used to target any numerical data, such as credit card information, personal identification numbers (PIN), social insurance numbers (SIN), dates of birth and bank account numbers.

Being aware of such fraudulent practices is the greatest form of protection, so always be suspicious when you receive unsolicited incoming communications. Never provide personal information over the phone and do not rely solely on caller ID as proof of an organization’s legitimacy.

For more information on vishing, visit the Scams/Fraud section of the RCMP website.

National Do Not Call List

National DNCL Service

Telephone: 1-866-580-3625
Phone (TTY): 1-888-362-5889
Fax: 1-888-362-5329

Websitewww.LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunictions Commission

Central Building, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0N2

Telephone: 819-997-0313
Toll Free: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)
Phone (TTY): 1-877-909-2782
Fax: 819-994-0218

Websitewww.crtc.gc.ca

Canadian Marketing Association

1 Concorde Gate
Suite 607

Don Mills, Ontario  M3C 3N6

Telephone: 416-391-2362
Fax: 416-441-4062

Email
Websitewww.the-cma.org

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

RCMP Public Affairs and Communications Services

Headquarters Building
1200 Vanier Parkway

Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0R2

Telephone: 613-993-7267
Fax: 613-993-0260

Websitewww.rcmp.gc.ca

Competition Bureau Canada

Head Office

50 Victoria Street

Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0C9

Telephone: 819-997-4282
Toll Free: 1-800-348-5358
Phone (TTY): 1-800-642-3844
Fax: 819-997-0324

Websitewww.competitionbureau.gc.ca

Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices

Alberta

Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
3rd Floor Commerce Place
10155-102 Street

Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4L4

Telephone: 780-427-4088
Toll Free: 1-877-427-4088

Email
Websitewww.servicealberta.ca

British Columbia

Consumer Protection BC
#307-3450 Uptown Blvd
PO Box 9244

Victoria, British Columbia  V8W 9J2

Telephone: 604-320-1667
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 250-920-7181

Email
Websitewww.consumerprotectionbc.ca

Manitoba

Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
302-258 Portage Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3C 0B6

Telephone: 204-945-3800
Toll Free: 1-800-782-0067
Fax: 204-945-0728

Email
Websitewww.manitoba.ca/consumerinfo

New Brunswick

Financial and Consumer Services Commission
225 King Street, Suite 200

Fredericton, New Brunswick  E3B 1E1

Toll Free: 1-866-933-2222
Fax: 506-444-4494

Email
Websitewww.fcnb.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador

Service NL
PO Box 8700

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador  A1B 4J6

Telephone: 709-729-2600
Toll Free: 1-877-968-2600
Fax: 709-729-6998

Email
Websitewww.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/index.html

Northwest Territories

Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
5201-50th Avenue, Suite 600
PO Box 1320

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories  X1A 2L9

Telephone: 867-767-9161 ext 21022
Fax: 867-873-0309

Email
Websitewww.maca.gov.nt.ca/en/services/consumer-affairs

Nova Scotia

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
Mail Room, 8 South
Maritime Centre
1505 Barrington Street

Halifax, Nova Scotia  B3J 3K5

Telephone: 902-424-5200
Toll Free: 1-800-670-4357
Fax: 902-424-0720

Email
Websitenovascotia.ca/sns/access/individuals/consumer-awareness.asp

Nunavut

Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
3090 – 9th Street
P.O. Box 440

Baker Lake, Nunavut  X0C 0A0

Telephone: 867-793-3303
Toll Free: 1-866-223-8139
Fax: 867-793-3321

Email
Websitewww.gov.nu.ca/

Ontario

Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Box 450
1201 Wilson Ave, Station A

Toronto, Ontario  M3M 1J8

Telephone: 416-326-8800
Toll Free: 1-800-889-9768
Phone (TTY): 416-229-6086
Phone (TTY) 2: 1-877-666-6545
Fax: 416-326-8665

Email
Websitewww.ontario.ca/consumerprotection

Prince Edward Island

Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
Shaw Building, 4th Floor
95 Rochford Street
PO Box 2000

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  C1A 7N8

Telephone: 902-368-4580
Telephone: 902-368-4550
Toll Free: 1-800-658-1799
Fax: 902-368-5283

Websitehttps://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/consumer-services

Quebec

Office de la protection du consommateur
400 Jean-Lesage Boulevard, Suite 450

Québec, Quebec  G1K 8W4

Telephone: 418-643-1484
Toll Free: 1-888-672-2556
Fax: 418-528-0976

Websitewww.opc.gouv.qc.ca

Yukon

Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
307 Black Street

Whitehorse, Yukon  Y1A 2N1

Telephone: 867-667-5111
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0408 ext. 5111
Fax: 867-667-3609

Email
Websitewww.community.gov.yk.ca/consumer/index.html

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