Common scams and deceptive marketing practices and how to avoid them

These short articles, originally issued by the Bureau as consumer and business alerts, contain information on how you can avoid falling victim to deceptive marketing practices and scams.

Common scams and deceptive practices and how to avoid them
Date Subject Article Hidden Search Terms
March 1, 2023 Cryptocurrency investment fraud Quick easy money? Sometimes it’s a quick easy LIE customers, online, consumer reviews
March 2, 2022 Fake reviews Five-star fake out scam, fraud, fraudsters, consumers
March 10, 2017 Snow removal agreements Snow removal businesses: Avoid a flurry of problems, steer clear of illegal agreements price, price fixing, agreement, territory, customers, clientele, discussion, collusion, snow, plowing, snow removal
March 15, 2021 Scams targeted at businesses Taking care of business scam, fraud, fraudsters, consumers
March 1, 2021 Non-delivery scams Non-delivery scams: When nothing comes to those who wait shopping online, fraud, online marketplace, consumers
March 11, 2020 Subscription traps Subscription traps: “no-strings attached” trial offers could leave you with your hands tied shopping online, fraud, online marketplace, consumers
November 29, 2019 Third-party sellers Check Out the Seller Before You Checkout shopping online, fraud, online marketplace, third-party sellers, shopping surprises
November 7, 2017 Appliance warranties Seven questions you should ask before buying new appliances fridge, refrigerator, washer, dryer, stove, range, warranty, guarantee, repair, appliances, manufacturer
February 27, 2019 Bamboo fabric Don't be bamboozled: The real deal with "bamboo fabric" bamboo, fabric, environment, chemicals, false, deceptive, advertising
April 17, 2018 Business contracts What you don't know about contracts could hurt your business business, automatic renewal clause, price escalation clause, exclusivity clause, terms and conditions, fine print, quote
April 25, 2018 Business directories Business directories: Double-check before writing a cheque directory, spam, email, fax, telemarketing
June 21, 2017 CEO impersonation Show them who's the boss—shut down the fake CEO scam letter, fake CEO, wire transfer, boss, employee, company
September 4, 2018 Charity scams Happy International Day of Charity: Give with confidence charity, fake charity, charities, donating, donate, donations, giving
November 21, 2016 Cheap luxury items High-end online shopping at "bargain basement" prices bargain, knock-offs, designer, brand names, fashion, counterfeit, fake, purses, watches, clothes, shoes
May 12, 2017 Computer virus/repair scams Hang up on tech experts claiming your computer has a virus; it's a scam Windows, computers, computer, tech, tech support, IT, viruses, virus, repair
March 19, 2018 Contests and prizes A special prize just for you? Don't be fooled into believing you are a sweepstakes winner letter, official, pre-addressed reply, contest, prize, scam, win, winner, sweepstakes
February 15, 2018 Credit card debt relief services Debt relief promises: Tips for choosing a debt relief service that keeps its word bankruptcy, creditors, credit card, guarantee, debts, loans, counsellor, debt relief, debt services
October 29, 2018 Cryptocurrency Tales from the cryptocurrency investment ghouls, goblins and ghosts cryptocurrency, bitcoin, pyramid scheme, investments, get rich quick, celebrity, endorsements, testimonials
January 23, 2017 Environmental claims It's not easy being green. Businesses must back up their words Environment, green, green product, eco-friendly, safe, organic, biodegradable
August 29, 2019 Fake government websites Government websites: Spot the legitimate among the fakes scam, scam website, federal, government, spoof website, official, deceptive practices, google, search
May 10, 2017 Flowers online Avoid the wrong kind of surprise this Mother's Day flowers, bouquet, arrangement, online shopping, gift
September 20, 2017 Free trial offers Free trial that turns out to be a monthly subscription: It's a trap monthly fees, fee, credit card, subscription, pop-up surveys, charges, continuity scam
March 8, 2016 Free trial offers Subscription traps: “no-strings attached” trial offers could leave you with your hands tied subscription, trap, online offer, free trial, fees, charges, monthly, limited time, unwanted deliveries
March 18, 2016 Government grants, loans, and benefits Don't trust companies that promise government grants and loans government, application, approval, official
March 30, 2016 Immigration scams Scammers reaching new lows as they focus their efforts on defrauding immigrants and refugees refugee, asylum, threatening, government, government official, police, deportation, arrest, fake programs, fraud
March 7, 2017 Intellectual property Beware of emails and letters demanding payment to protect your intellectual property rights Canadian Intellectual Property Office, CIPO, solicitation, copyright, trademark, rights, lawyer
March 31, 2016 Investment scams Beware the green gremlin of investment fraud high-pressure sales, Ontario Securities Commission, OSC, fraudulent, returns, real estate, stock
March 14, 2017 Investment scams Don't invest in fraud: Know how to spot investment scams fraud, risk, insider information, stocks, stock market, bonds, returns, hot tip, insider information, pressure tactic
December 15, 2017 iTunes gift card as payments Fill your library, not their wallets government, CRA, taxes, payment, extortion, gift card, iTunes, back taxes, telemarketing
July 9, 2018 Leather furniture Leather furniture… True or faux?
Cheat sheet: types of “leather” in furniture
full grain, top grain, bonded leather, faux leather, vegan leather
July 2, 2019 Loyalty programs Customer loyalty programs: What is your brand loyalty worth? reward, rewards, hidden, loyalty, loyal, free, frequent, incentives, incentive, VIP, points, cash back, insider, perks
August 1, 2017 Movers and moving The next time you move, dodge the "rogue movers" who take your belongings hostage belongings, move, moving, mover, house, home, apartment, surprise fees, certification, Canada Anti-Fraud Centre, Better Business Bureau, BBB
February 14, 2019 Online dating websites Online dating: Know what you're signing up for deceptive, terms, conditions, free, trial, membership, advertising
February 10, 2017 Online dating websites Know the price of love dating, online profile, hidden fees, fake profile, match
November 21, 2018 Cancelled discount Bargain hunting season could turn into a wild goose chase bait and switch, false, advertising, scam, online, discounts, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, basket, checkout, online shopping, cancel, cancellation
July 13, 2017 Online price isn’t in Canadian dollars Mind the "$": Is that price in Canadian or American dollars? exchange rate, currency, dollars, shopping, online shopping
October 31, 2017 Psychics Unexpected letters from a psychic: All signs point to fraud clairvoyant, fortune teller, elderly, ESP
June 27, 2018 Pyramid schemes Becoming your own boss: Yes, but not at any cost membership fees, financial, entrepreneur, multi-level marketing, business owner, work from home
May 3, 2016 Real estate seminars Don't flip for "free" real estate investment seminars risk, debt, quick money, quick profit, secret, strategies, testimonials
August 16, 2018 Rental accommodations Rental scam: No room for error bargain price, student, university, college, Kijiji, Facebook, amenities, deposit, agreement, property, rent, picture
December 11, 2018 Smart toys Be smart with smart toys: Know when to pull the plug network, Wi-Fi, smart plug, toy, toys, app, apps, ads, connected
July 26, 2017 Snow removal agreements Summer is still in full swing, but winter is just a season away contracts, season, credentials, subcontracting, clause, snow, plowing, plow
March 10, 2017 Snow removal agreements Snow removal businesses: Avoid a flurry of problems, steer clear of illegal agreements price-fixing, price, agreement, territory, customers, discussion, collusion, plowing, plow
August 8, 2016 Sports streaming packages Foul play: Sports streaming packages' fine print can hide true terms and conditions hockey, football, gold, basketball, baseball, advertising, marketing, TV, entertainment, sports
May 24, 2018 Survey scams Pop-up surveys can be a) scams b) traps c) costly? survey, free product, clickbait, shipping fee, online survey
May 16, 2019 Telecom service agreements Telecom service agreements: That "forever" price may only be a "for now" price Cell, phone, phones, pricing, contract, deceptive, agreement, false, mobile, cooling, Internet, television, terms of service, switching
December 8, 2016 Travel fees Traveling for the Holidays? Don't get wrapped up in surprise fees package deal, tickets, hotel, accommodation, airline, resort fee, restrictions, blackout
July 18, 2016 Water heater and HVAC sales Competition Bureau warns consumers about deceptive door-to-door sales of water heaters and HVAC systems water heater, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, contract, terms and conditions, door to door, salesman
April 18, 2016 Water heater contracts Home buyers surprised at high fees to exit water heater rental contracts homebuyer, rental contract, exit fee, fees, door-to-door sales
January 15, 2018 Weightloss scams Experiencing the post-holiday weight blues? Be careful! Many diets or fat-burning products may only lighten your wallet new year, calories, fat, patches, creams, lotions, wraps, body belts, exercise, dieting, unhealthy, supplements, claims, results, doctor, deceptive advertising