How the scam has worked in the past:
- Scammers usually establish contact through email or phone offering a deal on a phone that seems too good to be true. Often they may even say that the phone is ‘free’, ‘as long as you pay the ‘taxes’ and / or ‘shipping fees’.
- If you take the bait, they attempt to get personal and credit card information out of you.
- They may ask for your drivers license number to do a ‘credit check’ and your address in order to ship the phone to you. Many have even received a phone shipped to them, except that it is usually the “wrong phone”. They then call you to say they’ve shipped the wrong phone and apologise that this phone is not free, and ask that you send the phone back to a specified address with the promise to this time ship you the right phone.
Usually, they’ve used the personal and credit card information you’ve provided earlier to place an order for new phones from your account with your telecom service provider and once you send the phone back + have paid the 'taxes' on the new phone, the scam is complete.
You lose the money you paid as 'taxes' on the 'free phone' plus are on the hook with your telecom company for 'ordering a new phone'.
You may also lose access to your telecom account as well as your phone number.
You may have revealed your driver's license number, credit card number and personal information including your address etc that puts you at increased risk for identity theft.
How to identify the scammers:
Whenever you receive an email from someone purporting to be PlanHub, please check to make sure that the email comes from an @planhub.ca email id. The ‘PlanHub’ in the email will always be after the ‘@’ and never before.
We are also compliant with Canadian Anti-Spam laws and only send you emails if you have expressly signed up for a service with us. You will never receive an unsolicited email from us.
We will also never call you unsolicited.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed:
- 1. Stop all communication with the scammer
- 2. Contact your telecom company and your bank and put them on alert for unauthorised transactions. Change your password and security questions if possible.
- 3. Make a list of all the information you have shared with the scammers and collect all documentary evidence from emails etc.
- 4. If you’ve been contacted by phone, make a note of the date, time and duration of call as well as the number of the caller.
- 5. Report all of this to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. They maintain a quite comprehensive list of scams currently running to inform Canadians. They also work with the RCMP to detect and apprehend scammers.
- 6. Report the scam to your local police station and make a note of your complaint file number. If you get any further calls or emails from the scammers report this additional info using the same file number. Or if you notice any suspicious activity on your telecom or bank account, report that too - using the same file number.
- 7. Reporting suspicious activity on your bank or credit card statements to the police is essential if you want to prevent it from negatively appearing on your credit report and potentially damaging your credit rating.
- 8. Bring the scam to our attention by emailing us at [email protected]