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How to spot a phone scam

February 24, 2023

Events in recent years have fostered the kind of climate where fraudsters thrive—and thrive they have. Scam artists have been known to pose as financial advisors, government officials, police officers, charity workers and even family members. Their goal is to get you to give up confidential information or transfer money. Here are some tips to help you tell a real call from a scam.

2 examples of phone scams include:

Fake advisors and fake mail carriers

A person who claims to be an advisor at your financial institution calls you. They tell you you've been the victim of debit or credit fraud and that a new card has been issued to replace your current one.

After asking for your card number, the fake advisor (or a recorded message) asks for your PIN (personal identification number), claiming they need it to lock your card to prevent more fraudulent transactions. The fake advisor might ask you to say your PIN aloud, key it on your phone or write it down so you can put it in an envelope with your card.

Then the fake advisor offers to come pick up your card so that you don’t have to travel. They tell you to simply put the card in your mailbox. A mail carrier will then come to pick it up. You follow their instructions and notice that someone dressed like an employee of Canada Post or another courier company comes to pick up your card. Even if you’re suspicious, the person on the phone knows how to be convincing to earn your trust. 

And that's how scammers get your card and PIN and use it to make transactions, like withdrawing cash.

Think twice!

  • If in doubt, get the name of the person calling you and end the conversation. Then call us at the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card.
  • Never give your PIN to anyone. Only you should know it.

What are Desjardins’s phone practices?

We might contact you about our products and services, but we follow standard practices to ensure your security.

If you receive a call from Desjardins

We’ll never ask you to provide:

  • Personal, confidential information (like your date of birth, debit or credit card number, PIN or social insurance number)
  • Security questions and answers for your Desjardins accounts
  • User names, passcodes, information or passwords to authenticate you
  • one-time security code you might have been sent during the call

This applies to both legitimate emails and text messages.

If you’re the caller

If you’re the one making the call, the Desjardins advisor might ask you to confirm your identity by:

Lost your card? Lock it!

If you can't find your Desjardins debit or credit card or you suspect it might have been stolen, you can go to AccèsD and temporarily lock it so it can't used. It's easy and it's quick, and it minimizes the risk of anyone using your card fraudulently.

If you find your card, all you have to do is unlock it. But if it turns out your card was lost or stolen, contact us so we can cancel it and send you a new one. You can also request a replacement card in the Desjardins mobile services app or online. You’ll receive it in the mail within 5 to 10 business days.

Tech support scam

Another scheme fraudsters use to get your personal information is to have someone call you and masquerade as a computer technician (Windows, AccèsD, etc.) from a recognized company.

The technician tells you they have to update a program on your computer. You let them do it thinking it’s required, but in fact, they take advantage of this opportunity to install a program that captures your user ID and password the next time you log in to AccèsD.

In some cases, the scammer may even have the gall to ask you for your login details. With this information in hand, they can access your accounts and personal information to commit fraud.

Think twice!

  • Keep in mind that no professionals or companies will ever contact you personally regarding a computer problem.
  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer.
  • Never perform any actions someone asks you to take. This is especially the case for a problem you’ve never asked for help with.
  • Never provide your personal information (debit or credit card numbers, AccèsD passwords, PINs and so on).
  • If you have any doubts about your computer being infected, contact your financial institution right away and have your computer checked by a recognized service provider.

Desjardins does use email and text messaging

We send emails and texts to share factual information only. For example, you might receive a message or alert letting you know that your statement is available or that your credit card balance is approaching the limit.

Desjardins protects you with security alerts

You might also receive a text message asking you to confirm a credit card purchase or a log-in attempt to your account. It’s easy! There is no link to click, and we will only ever ask you to reply Yes or No.

Make sure your phone number and email address are up to date in the Security section and under Add or remove an alert for your credit card.

No matter what the situation, watch out for scams and always think twice before sharing your information or agreeing to transfer money. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and your financial institution as soon as possible.

More ways to keep you safe

To find out all our tips and tools, go to and be sure to contact us if ever you’re ever in doubt.

A push notification is a message sent directly from a mobile app on a phone or tablet. In the case of authentication with an advisor, the push notification would be sent through the AccèsD app.