Pattie Lovett-Reid | CTV News

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation might be forcing Canadian businesses to stop sending unsolicited emails, but nothing will discourage a scam artist. Below are a few tips for protecting yourself from fraudsters, and recognizing the difference between a scam artist and simple unsolicited spam.

Spammer or scammer?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation has serious fines for Canadian businesses that don’t follow the rules, but scammers are much less likely to even bother making their emails look CASL compliant. Check to see:

  • Does it contain an unsubscribe button and company name as well as a physical address?
  • Do you recall subscribing to an email list of the sender?

If the answer to any of these is no, the email is likely a spammer or a scammer. Either way, you don’t want to click on it.

Take Your Time:

Never respond to a suspicious email immediately, and don’t click on any links until you can verify the sender is legitimate. Phishing emails and scammers are getting smarter about reaching your inbox and making themselves look like a legitimate business. Red flags include:

  • Look at the sender’s email address. If the email address doesn’t match the domain of the company (easy to check quickly online) don’t open it!
  • Fraudsters emails are created to drive an emotional response. Pleas for help or legal threats are likely a scam.
  • Vague emails apparently from a friend with links, with wording like “thought you’d enjoy this” or “have you seen this?” It’s likely your friends email address was hacked. Don’t click on the link until you’ve talked to them.

Never, never, never give personal or financial information in an email:

This should go without saying but some scammers can make a very convincing case. But no legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for you to send financial information, passwords, social insurance numbers, etc. by email.

  • When in doubt, call the company, it may take time but it’s a small price to pay for your valuable data/information.
  • Real businesses have many alternative communication channels to reach out to in order to question an email that you received from them.
  • Always be cautious and risk averse.

If you receive a phishing or fraudulent email – report it!

  • If you use a service provider such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, be sure to report any phishing or fraudulent emails you receive to them. This helps to identify criminal activity and eliminates other people from receiving the same type of message
  • Email service providers largely react based upon a volume of consumer complaints so it is important that everyone raises the issues when they appear.

You should also report phishing scams to the RCMP fraud squad.

Carelessness abounds

However, not all are scams and according to a new poll, carelessness in Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) compliance may be a ticking time-bomb for Canadian businesses.

Companies need to carefully review customer communications ensuring they are compliant with CASL or they run a serious risk of lawsuits.

The poll revealed Canadians may be far more litigious than expected, with more than half reporting that they would consider joining class action lawsuits for spam violations.

The poll was conducted for itracMARKETER, a Toronto-based email marketing, automation, and CASL compliance software-as-a-service application provider which regularly counsels Canadian companies on their communications strategies and CASL compliance.

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