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, 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
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunictions Commission
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0N2
Canadian Marketing Association
Don Mills, Ontario M3C 3N6
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
RCMP Public Affairs and Communications Services
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2
Competition Bureau Canada
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9
Provincial and Territorial Consumer Affairs Offices
Service Alberta, Consumer Contact Centre
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Consumer Protection BC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9J2
Consumer Protection Office, Manitoba Justice
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B6
Financial and Consumer Services Commission
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1E1
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B 4J6
Consumer Affairs, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Public Enquiries
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5
Consumer Affairs, Department of Community and Government Services
Baker Lake, Nunavut X0C 0A0
Consumer Protection Ontario, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Toronto, Ontario M3M 1J8
Prince Edward Island
Consumer Services, Department of Justice and Public Safety
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 7N8
Office de la protection du consommateur
Québec, Quebec G1K 8W4
Consumer Services, Department of Community Services
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2N1