1. Types of Scams
    1. Phishing
    2. Internet Scams
    3. Telephone Scams
    4. Extortion Scams
  2. Protecting yourself from scams
  3. What to do if you’ve been a victim of a scam
  4. For your safety
    1. Carleton Will Never
    2. The CRA Will Never
    3. The IRCC Will Never
  5. Resources

Have you ever been a victim of a scam? Do you know someone who has? Maybe you aren’t even sure what a scam is? A scam is a method many hackers use in order to get money in addition to your personal information. Scams can result in identity theft, fraud, theft from your bank account or credit card, and computer viruses. There are many different types of scams that people may fall victim to and as a Carleton student, you need to be aware and know how to protect your personal information.

Types of Scams


This is a message, typically sent through email, which copies the appearance of a reputable organization, like a bank, in order to trick users into giving up their personal information. There may also be links infected with viruses in these emails and once a user clicks on one, the scammer can gain the user’s personal information through monitoring their web data and placing a virus on their computer.

On the other hand, Spear phishing is a little bit different. This type of ‘phishing’ is small-scaled and well-targeted in the sense that the individual who sent the email is targeted specifically as opposed to regular phishing where mass-emailing is the approach. The messages appear to be from a very trusted source and can contain specific details about the person who receives the email. For example, for anyone who works at Carleton, like a student, staff or faculty member, these messages dealing with payment information can appear to be from the Human Resources department. This phishing scam can look so believable and trustworthy, which is why a person may feel comfortable providing their information.

Internet Scams

It is very easy for someone to create a fake website that appears to look legitimate or copies the same look of the original website. These websites can claim to be official Government of Canada sites or their partners. For people who are interested in immigrating to Canada, like some international students, they can also promise amazing immigration deals and high paying jobs in order to trick people into giving them money and attempting to steal their identity.

Telephone Scams

These scams can come from anywhere around the world even if the number appears to be from Canada. The callers can pretend to be from a bank, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and more.

In particular, international students really need to watch out for the scams claiming to be the IRCC. These scam phone calls may threaten jail time or deportation to scare international students into providing their information. Always be careful and be aware of what information is being asked of you.

Extortion Scams

If someone is asking you to perform sexual acts or to share intimate photos with them online, it is illegal for them to distribute those images in any way, or request payment for the images. It is not your fault if you shared intimate images and now are being threatened with them, and support is available through the Carleton Sexual Assault Support Centre or Campus Safety Services.

Please be aware that there is always a risk in sharing intimate images and acts online, particularly with people you don’t know. Even if you don’t share intimate images, a person on the other end of the camera can screenshot you or screen record you performing any intimate acts. Some online safety tips include:

  • Only engage in cyber-intimacy with people you know and trust
  • Cover your webcam when it’s not in use or when chatting with strangers online
  • If you receive a threat to pay or your intimate images will be shared, seek support from Campus Safety Services or the Carleton Sexual Assault Support Centre immediately.

If you need advice or support, you can reach out to the Carleton University Sexual Assault Support Centre at equity@carleton.ca or visit our Sexual Violence Prevention and Survivor Support website.

Protecting yourself from scams

  • If a website seems wrong to you, do a web search to see if anyone has reported any problems with that site.
  • Don’t give out personal information unless you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
  • Don’t give out any information if the sender asks for personal information, such as your date of birth, password, credit card or bank details.
  • Always check the language being used: do not give out your information if there are spelling mistakes present or the quality of the language does not sound right.
  • If there is a link present, make sure you hover your mouse over the link to see it in its entirety at the bottom left corner of the computer screen to check if it is legitimate or fake.
  • Always check the email to see if it is one that can be trusted –if the sender uses a Carleton, IRCC or CRA email, look to see if the format is identical to your Carleton email or the email formats on the IRCC and CRA sites. (ex. JaneDoe@cmail.carleton.ca or JaneDoe@cmail.carleton.com, notice how one uses .ca and the other uses .com –for Carleton the correct one always ends with .ca)

What to do if you’ve been a victim of a scam

  1. Contact Ottawa Police Call Centre at 613-236-1222, extension 7300 to file a report as a report cannot be filed online.
  2. Contact Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by going to their website or by calling 1-888-465-8501.
  3. Contact Campus Safety Services if the incident was in relation to Carleton University in any way, especially if there is an immediate on campus risk to you or someone you know; open 24/7, 365 days a year.
  4. Request a copy of your credit bureau report – in certain instances, this report may be free of charge. Request that a “Fraud Warning” be placed on your credit file instructing creditors to contact you personally before opening new accounts in your name – these warnings remain on file for 6 years. Remember to contact and file fraud warnings with both bureaus.
  5. Get help from Carleton resources such as Health and Counselling or the International Student Services Office.

If you encounter a suspicious message, website or phone call, please contact Carleton’s Information Technology Services (ITS) Service Desk at its.service.desk@carleton.ca or 613-520-3700. If you are scammed or click on a link in your Carleton email, please change your Carleton account password right away and contact the ITS Service Desk.

International students who are concerned they may have been a target of a scam can contact the International Student Services Office (ISSO) at isso@carleton.ca or 613-520-6600.

For your safety

Carleton Will Never

  • Contact students on behalf of IRCC or CRA to request an immediate transfers of funds.

The CRA Will Never

  • Give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link.
  • Email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details.
  • Set up a meeting with you in a public place to take a payment.
  • Threaten you with arrest, a prison sentence, deportation or other consequence.

The IRCC Will Never

  • Ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account.
  • Ask you to transfer money through a private money transfer service.
  • Offer special deals to people who want to immigrate.
  • Threaten you with arrest, a prison sentence, deportation or other consequence.


Carleton resources:

Government resources: