How to stay safe from phone scams

So far in this course we have discussed smishing and vishing attacks, and learned about the common phone scams that are happening around the country. This lesson is the most important one. During this lesson we will provide you with what to look out for and tips on how to protect yourself if you are ever faced with a phone call scam attempt, along with what.

What to look out for

With any type of scam, the scammer will attempt to get you to provide them with something or request you to do something. They could ask you for personal information or money, or they will request that you visit a website to log in to. Whatever it is they ask of you, they have specific techniques that they use. Below are the techniques that you should look out for:

Fear/Urgency: if the message you are receiving attempts to scare you into acting or responding it is most likely a scam. An example of this would be “friend or family member is in trouble and needs money urgently” or “you will be arrested if you don’t comply.”

Pressure/ Aggression: by applying pressure or aggression, the scammer is trying to get an emotional response from you.

Opportunity/Entertainment: Scammers will try to trick you by offering some sort of prize such as concert tickets that are available for only a limited amount. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Use familiar numbers/caller IDs of reputable companies: Scammers will call you with a caller ID that may say “Amazon” but remember, companies will NEVER randomly contact you to discuss your personal information or specific orders that you placed.


Now that we know what techniques scammers will likely try to use, below are some tips on how to prevent yourself from falling victim to phone scams.

Block unknown or anonymous callers: Phone companies have different features to support filtering or blocking numbers so be sure to check with your mobile carrier (Rogers, Bell, Telus) to see what features are available to you.

Hang up the phone: it is best to not interact with the scammer. If you answer a call and something seems off, just hang up.

Report Scams: if you are ever faced with a phone scam attempt, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. If you or a friend or family member is a victim of phone scam, contact your local police.

NEVER give out personal information over the phone: this is the most important way to prevent a smishing or vishing attack. Never provide personal information through email, messages or over the phone to someone you do not know.

By following these tips you can keep yourself safe from phone scams. If you would like to learn more, check out the links below.


Course completion checkmark

Great work! You have reached the end of this course. Remember, digital skills take practice! We encourage you to review the course as often as you like. If you need further assistance please see our Get Help page to learn about the other ways Best Buy and Geek Squad can assist you.