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How to protect yourself from telecom fraud

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Stolen or lost handsets/equipment

Lost handset or equipment

  • If your phone or SIM card is lost, you should report it immediately to Bell customer service.
  • Our representatives can add your lost device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices so that it cannot be used on Bell’s network, nor on the network of any other service provider in Canada. Learn more
  • You can also review our tips on replacing a lost mobile phone and/or SIM card.

Stolen handset or equipment

If your phone or SIM card has been stolen, you should immediately:

  1. Report the theft to local police
  2. Report the theft to Bell customer service. Our representatives can add your stolen device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices so that it cannot be used on Bell’s network, nor or the network of any other service provider in Canada. Learn more
  3. You can also review our tips on replacing a lost mobile phone and/or SIM card.

If your phone or SIM card has been stolen while travelling, click here

Preventing handset theft

The following tips will help you reduce the risk of handset theft and make information on your device more secure:

  • Use the lock code or password feature on your device at all times
  • Keep your phone secured and out of sight when not in use
  • You can use apps for tracking and erasing your phone if lost or stolen
  • Keep a record about your mobile phone in a safe place (phone number, make and model, color and appearance details, IMEI and PIN number)

Last Updated:29/05/2014

How to protect yourself from telecom fraud

Many types of telecom fraud exist, including:

Top tips to protect yourself:

  • Be careful when sharing personal information. Be wary of imposters who might contact you in various ways (phone, email, etc.) to collect personal information, credit card numbers, PINs and other details.

    NOTE: Bell will NEVER contact you to ask for this information. To make sure you’re dealing with Bell, you can always contact us directly.

  • Never share your PINs and passwords. Use complex passwords that are hard to guess, and change them frequently.
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers, contests and investment opportunities. Always read the fine print.
  • Don’t open unsolicited email messages and don’t click on links unless you trust the source.
  • Keep your computer’s operating system and firewall up to date. Be wary when downloading software, apps and files onto your computer or mobile phone.

Last Update:29/05/2014


Stolen or lost handsets/equipment

Lost handset or equipment

  • If your phone or SIM card is lost, you should report it immediately to Bell customer service.
  • Our representatives can add your lost device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices so that it cannot be used on Bell’s network, nor on the network of any other service provider in Canada. Learn more
  • You can also review our tips on replacing a lost mobile phone and/or SIM card.

Stolen handset or equipment

If your phone or SIM card has been stolen, you should immediately:

  1. Report the theft to local police
  2. Report the theft to Bell customer service. Our representatives can add your stolen device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices so that it cannot be used on Bell’s network, nor or the network of any other service provider in Canada. Learn more
  3. You can also review our tips on replacing a lost mobile phone and/or SIM card.

If your phone or SIM card has been stolen while travelling, click here

Preventing handset theft

The following tips will help you reduce the risk of handset theft and make information on your device more secure:

  • Use the lock code or password feature on your device at all times
  • Keep your phone secured and out of sight when not in use
  • You can use apps for tracking and erasing your phone if lost or stolen
  • Keep a record about your mobile phone in a safe place (phone number, make and model, color and appearance details, IMEI and PIN number)

Last Update:29/05/2014


Mobile phone scams

Social engineering scams

Three popular types of social engineering scams are phishing (email), vishing (voice calls) and smishing (text messages).

A social engineering scam gets people to perform specific actions or divulge confidential information through psychological manipulation. It can be done on the Internet, over the telephone or in person. Once the scammer obtains the desired information, it can be used for identity theft, industrial espionage and other criminal activities, or simply to disrupt the normal course of business.

Phishing

Phishing is a form of fraud that uses email messages with phony addresses, websites or pop-up windows to gather your personal information, which can then be used for identity theft.

A scammer might send an email asking you to update your Bell billing details to keep your account active. The email will ask you to click on a link taking you to a website that looks like Bell’s, where you’ll be asked for your login and account details. Alternately, the email may say you have a problem and need to click on or open an attachment to solve it. But if you click on it, you could install something damaging to your device, or trigger your device to send your personal information to the phisher.

Phishing can also be in the form of emails offering money for work-at-home jobs, or asking for help with frozen bank accounts, or offering discounted pharmaceuticals, trips, etc.

Vishing

With vishing (voice phishing), the scammer will attempt to gather your personal or financial information over the phone instead of by email. A scammer might call to sell you new rate plans (which are phony), ask you to complete a survey, promise you an incentive or tell you that they’re updating your account and want you to “confirm” details.

As another example, a pre-recorded message promises you travel rewards or a $100 credit on your next bill and directs you to a fake site that “looks” legitimate or to a 1 800 number.

The goal is to trick you into releasing passwords, PINs, banking or credit card details which can then be used for fraud.

Smishing

Smishing (SMS phishing) uses text messaging to gather personal or financial information that can be used for identity theft.

A scammer might send you a text message asking you to visit a specific website or to call a number. At this point, you would be asked to provide sensitive information, such as credit card number, to access an account or for “security reasons”. The message usually demands your immediate attention.

Here are some examples:

  • "We confirm that you have signed up for our dating service. You will be charged $2 a day unless you cancel your order on this URL: [URL]".
  • "(Name of popular online bank) confirms that you have purchased a computer from (name of popular computer company). Visit [URL] if you did not make this online purchase"
  • "(Name of a financial institution): Your account has been suspended. Call 235.654.6969 immediately to reactivate"

The URL provided will likely bring you to a credible-looking website that will ask for personal information to continue.

How do I know if communications I receive are really from Bell?

Bell communicates with customers regularly, and we have rules about requesting personal information as well as what we include in our communications.

Communications to our customers will never:

- Request personal information, such as passwords, PIN numbers, banking or credit card information (unless we are responding to an initial telephone inquiry made by you).
- Include links to virus removal tools. Instead we will direct you to support.bell.ca/Internet
- Include executable (.exe) file attachments (programs).

If you have any doubt or concern about a communication you receive from us, please contact Bell customer service.

How to protect yourself

  • Be realistic; if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t respond to requests for personal information such as your bank account number in an email.
  • Be wary of alarmist, seemingly urgent messages, slightly altered web or email addresses and emails with spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Don’t forward virus warnings that come with "send this to everyone you know" requests, even if they appear to come from a credible source. These messages are hoaxes, and if they include any links or attachments, they can be dangerous to yours and your friends’ computers.
  • Be aware of the communication policies of the companies you use and what types of messages they will send.

How to report it

  • If you think you’ve been a target of any type of phone or Internet fraud, you should call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, at 1 888 495-8501 or visit Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • If the phishing scam involves the false representation of Bell, email the situation to abuse@bell.ca

Malware

Malware programs are transmitted through the Internet and can be installed on your phone when you download certain apps or files, or if you visit certain websites.

Malware lets criminals access your phone to disrupt its operations or to change or steal data. Malware can be difficult to detect, as it generally doesn’t appear in the list of installed programs.

How to protect yourself

  • Beware of email, text or Facebook messages containing shortened links or other attachments.
  • Select apps that let you opt out of information sharing.
  • Before downloading an app, do some research and see if it has been reviewed by a reputable source. Avoid the latest trend until it has been out long enough to earn the trust of reputable reviewers.
  • Be aware that your phone will be more susceptible to malware if you jailbreak it (i.e., modify or override its operating system to remove restrictions).

How to report it

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can visit the Canadian Identity Theft Support Centre or call them at 1 866 436-5461

Missed call/One ring scam

The missed call scam or one ring scam is a type of fraud where scammers call your phone and hang up quickly. Your phone registers a missed call from a number you don’t recognize. If you call the number to find out who called you, you may end up paying a premium rate for the call without warning. The same can be done using text messaging.

How to protect yourself

  • Never reply to missed calls or text messages from numbers you do not recognize.
  • Don’t call or send text messages to phone numbers beginning with 1 900 unless you are aware of the cost involved.
  • Read the terms and conditions of all offers very carefully. Services offering free or very cheap products often have hidden costs.

Last Update:29/05/2014


Internet and email scams

Viruses, worms and Trojans

What are viruses, worms and Trojans?

Viruses, worms, Trojans and other malicious programs are transmitted through the Internet and can infect computers. These malicious programs can cause serious harm to customers, such as destruction of data and theft of personal information

How to protect yourself

Here are some tips to protect yourself from downloading viruses, worms or Trojans onto your computer:

  • Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date and reliable. Anti-Virus is an important part of McAfee Security from Bell, which is included with many Bell Internet packages.
  • Be wary of email and instant messaging attachments or files, even if they are from people you know.
  • Scan downloads with anti-virus software before installing them.

Download and install McAfee Security from Bell now.

Spyware

What is spyware?

Spyware is software that is uploaded on your computer, usually secretly uploaded when you are surfing the web that collects and sends information from your computer without your permission.

How to protect yourself:

  • Watch out for unexpected offers, warnings and dialog boxes that suddenly pop up while you’re online. Avoid clicking on them, even to cancel or close them.
  • Be wary of peer-to-peer sharing (computer systems connected to each other through the Internet).
  • Always read the End User License Agreement when downloading from trusted sources.

Get rid of spyware on your computer with anti-spyware software. Anti-spyware is part of many McAfee Security from Bell package which is included with Bell Internet service.

Hackers & Malware

What are hackers & malware?

Hackers or snoops are people who try to get your personal information like credit card numbers and passwords by getting into your computer remotely. They may also try to get social insurance numbers and other important information so they can commit fraud.

Malware (Malicious software) means a program or software designed to enable unauthorized persons to access a system to disrupt its operations or to change or steal data. Malware can be difficult to detect, as it generally does not appear on the list of installed programs. It can be installed inadvertently by downloading certain free software, visiting certain websites or via peer-to-peer file-sharing. (Computer systems connected to each other through the Internet).

How to protect yourself:

  • Update your software and operating system: Upgrades have the latest technology which can make them more secure and worth the investment to stay up to date.
  • Firewall: Ensure that you have an up-to-date network firewall and that the firewall that is part of your laptop’s operating system is also running and up to date
  • Anti-virus: Keep your anti-virus software up to date and consider regular scans for spyware and malware.
  • Maintain security: Firewall and Anti-virus are always up to date as part of McAfee Security from Bell, which is included with most Bell Internet packages.
  • Choose strong passwords you can remember without writing them down. Mix upper and lower-case letters with numbers and, if possible, symbols.
  • Review your credit card and bank statements, and log in regularly to your accounts to check the activity.

Be careful in public places: If you use a public computer or if you use your own computer on a public network (e.g., a coffee shop) do not visit financial institutions’ websites, or input any personal information or passwords. Be sure that no one else can see your password if you enter one to access your hard drive.

Phishing, Junk mail and Spam

What is phishing?

Phishing is a form of fraud that uses email messages with phony addresses, websites or pop-up windows to gather your personal information, which can then be used for identity theft.

Phishers circulate emails with legitimate-looking logos and design styles and may link to websites that also look legitimate. For example, a phisher might send an email asking you to update your Bell billing details to keep your account active. The email will ask you to click on a link taking you to a website that looks like Bell’s, where you’ll be asked for your login and account details. Alternately, the email may say you have a computer problem and need to click on or open an attachment to solve it. But if you click on it, you could install something damaging to your computer, or trigger your computer to send your personal information to the phisher.

Phishing can also be in the form of those emails offering money for work-at-home jobs, or asking for help with frozen bank accounts.

What are junk mail and spam?

Spam messages (or "junk email") are unsolicited and unwanted emails for services and products. These sales pitches may be for anything, including health products, adult websites, software, clothing, financial services and many other things. The products and services may be legitimate, or they may be fraudulent.

How to protect yourself

  • Share your email address only with companies and organizations you trust to keep it private, and avoid posting your email address on website forums or newsgroups.
  • Enable your Bell Internet Junk Mail filter.
  • Don’t respond to junk mail.
  • Beware of contest and prize offers. In Canada, you will never win a contest if you didn’t enter it.
  • Use an alternative (temporary) email address such as Hotmail or Gmail for non-personal purposes.
  • Distort your email address when posting it online so spam engines can’t pick it up, for instance, type "john dot doe at bell dot net" instead of “john.doe@bell.net”.

How do I know if an email is really from Bell?

Bell communicates with customers through email regularly, and we have rules about requesting personal information as well as what we include in attachments. However, our emails will never request personal information such as passwords, PIN numbers, banking or credit card information (unless we are responding to an initial telephone inquiry made by you)

Additionally, our emails will never include:

  • Direct links to virus removal tools. Instead, we will direct you to support.bell.ca/Internet for detailed instructions on how to remove a virus.
  • Executable (.exe) file attachments (programs).

Genuine emails from the Bell companies may include:

  • Links to pages related to Bell services
  • Notification of changes to your service, and virus or security alerts. Remember, we'll always refer you to pages on bell.ca for more information.
  • Marketing and promotional offers, including contests
  • A customer survey or a link to a customer survey site
  • A request for permission to send you information on Bell products and services and those of its third party business partners

Think before you click.

  • Be realistic; if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t respond to requests for personal information such as your bank account number in an email.
  • Be wary of alarmist, seemingly urgent messages, slightly altered web or email addresses and emails with spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Don’t forward virus warnings that come with "send this to everyone you know" requests, even if they appear to come from a credible source. These messages are hoaxes, and if they include any links or attachments, they can be dangerous to yours and your friends’ computers.
  • Be aware of the communication policies of the companies you use and what types of messages they will send.

How to report it

If you think you’ve been a target of any type of phone or internet fraud, you should call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, at 1 888 495-8501 or visit Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

If the phishing scam involves the false representation of Bell, email the situation to abuse@bell.ca


Last Update:29/05/2014


Landline phone scams

Calling card fraud

What is calling card fraud?

The theft happens in a number of ways. For example, fraudsters might call you and pose as a Bell representative, and then ask for your calling card number for verification purposes.

Another common scenario is that someone watches or listens as you punch in or read your calling card number at a payphone.

How to protect yourself

  • Beware of anyone who calls you requesting calling card verification. Give out your card number only when placing a call through an operator. Remember, Bell will never contact you to ask for this information. To make sure you’re dealing with Bell, contact us.
  • Be cautious about the information you provide over the phone. Make sure no one is watching when you key in your calling card PIN or any other PIN.
  • Check your monthly phone bill carefully for any unusual charges.
  • Never tell anyone your calling card PIN.

How to report it

  • If your calling card number has been lost or stolen, you should report it immediately to Bell customer service: contact us.

Internet dialler fraud

What is Internet dialler fraud?

If you use dial-up to access the Internet or can send faxes from your machine (even if you have high speed), you have a dial-up modem.

Many Internet diallers are legitimate software applications where the user initiates the connection. However, an auto-dialler virus uses your dial-up modem and your phone line to make long-distance calls without your permission. You can inadvertently acquire an auto-dialler through viruses, spyware or hackers.

How to protect yourself:

  • Download and install McAfee Security from Bell, which include Anti-Virus and Firewall.
  • Whether you use dial-up Internet access regularly, or only occasionally use the dial-up access that comes with Bell Internet’s other packages, be aware of your computer’s Internet use.
  • Program your modem to make a dialing noise so you can hear it when it makes a new connection.
  • Regardless of your Internet connection, you should unplug the phone line from your computer when you are not faxing or on the Internet.
  • Don’t use any programs that enable your modem to automatically re-dial to the Internet.
  • Ask Bell to restrict your Internet phone line to local calls.
  • Read online terms and conditions carefully and be skeptical about claims like "free" and "no credit card needed" in exchange for any online product or service.
  • Increase the security settings for your operating system.

What is Bell doing about auto-diallers?

We block calls to several countries that have significant auto-dialler traffic. If you want to call to these countries, you now need to do it with an operator’s assistance (at no extra charge.) Unfortunately, some companies have simply moved operations to regions where call-blocking is harder to put in place.

How to report it

  • If you are the victim of a dialler “infection.” or find surprise charges on your phone bill, you should report it immediately to Bell customer service.

Collect call scams

What is collect call scams?

In a collect call scam, you’ll receive a call from a telephone operator asking you to accept an urgent collect call. While most people won’t accept a collect call if they don’t recognize the caller, some do because they worry it might be a friend or relative in trouble. Once you agree to accept the call, you’ll be billed for the charges.

Another type of collect call scam is the third-number billing scam, in this case you’ll receive a call from a telephone operator asking you to accept the charges for a call being placed by someone else. Once you agree, you’ll be billed for the charges.

Often, the operator will repeat a persuasive argument from the other person – for example, that it’s someone you know who’s in trouble, but will not give you the person’s name.

How to protect yourself

  • Check your monthly phone bill carefully for any unusual charges.
  • If you receive a collect call or a request to accept charges for a call being placed by someone else, make sure you know who the caller is; otherwise, don't accept it.
  • Don't let strangers use your phone; if you do, dial their call yourself.

How to report it

  • If you notice any suspicious activity on your line, you should report it immediately to Bell customer service.

Last Update:29/05/2014


Identity theft and fraud

Identity theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information. To obtain your information, a criminal might pose as a legitimate business and contact you by phone, mail, or email message (also known as “phishing”).

A criminal might even search your trash for mail containing personal information and credit card receipts. In many cases, a pre-approved credit card application gives the criminal enough information to set up a credit card in your name.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t give out your personal information. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to request information such as passwords, bank account information or credit card numbers unless they’re responding directly to an inquiry you know you have made.
  • To make sure you’re dealing with Bell, you can always contact us directly. Be cautious about posting personal information on public websites, such as social networking sites. Fraudsters might use those details to convince you that they represent Bell or other companies.
  • Use a shredder to destroy documents that contain personal information.
  • Keep your passwords, bank account information and social insurance number confidential at all times.

How to report it

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can visit the Canadian Identity Theft Support Center or call them at 1 866 802-3609.

Social engineering

What is social engineering?

A social engineering scam gets people to perform specific actions or divulge confidential information through psychological manipulation. It can be done on the Internet, over the telephone or in person. Once the scammer obtains the desired information, it can be used for identity theft, industrial espionage and other criminal activities, or to simply disrupt the normal course of business.

  • A caller may try to sell new rate plans (which are phony), ask you to complete a survey, promise you some kind of incentive, or they may tell you that they’re updating your account and want you to “confirm” details.
  • A pre-recorded message promises you travel rewards or a $100 credit on your next bill and directs you to a fake site that “looks” legitimate or to a 1 800 number.

The goal is to trick you into releasing passwords, PINs, banking or credit card details which can then be used for fraud.

Subscription fraud

What is subscription fraud?

Making a dishonest application using false information, or genuine but stolen information (identify theft) together with forged or stolen documentation to obtain a post-paid subscription(s) to an operator's services with no intention to pay for the service at the time of application. These documents may include; passports, driver's licenses, utility bills, bank details, work permits, etc., or whatever the network operator has specified as necessary to obtain service.

How to protect yourself

  • Keeping an eye on your credit report is your first step to protecting yourself.
  • Don’t give out your personal information. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to request information such as passwords, bank account information or credit card numbers unless they’re responding directly to an inquiry you know you have made.
  • To make sure you’re dealing with Bell, you can always contact us directly. Be cautious about posting personal information on public websites, such as social networking sites. Fraudsters might use those details to convince you that they represent Bell or other companies.
  • Use a shredder to destroy documents that contain personal information.
  • Keep your passwords, bank account information and social insurance number confidential at all times.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements frequently for suspicious charges.

How to report it

If you are victims of subscription fraud at Bell you should report it immediately to Bell customer service: contact us.

More information:

Fraud prevention
Security online
Using email safely


Last Update:29/05/2014


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