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How to spot a phone scam

May 16, 2024

In recent years developments like the increase in work from home and uptake of new technologies have fostered the kind of climate where fraudsters thrive—and often gain the upper hand. Scammers have been known to pose as representatives from your financial institution or even charity workers.Read on for some tips to help you tell a real call from a scam attempt.

2 examples of phone scams include:

Impersonation scams

These scams are also known as fake advisor scams and mailbox scams. Someone calls you, claiming to be an advisor from your financial institution, a police officer or even a representative from the anti-fraud centre. 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 representative asks for your PIN (personal identification number), claiming they need it to lock your card to prevent more fraudulent transactions. They might ask you to say your PIN out loud, key it on your phone or write it down so you can put it in an envelope with your card.

Next, the fake representative offers to have someone pick up your card from your mailbox so you don't have to go out. They tell you to simply put the card in your mailbox for pick up. You follow their instructions and see that the person coming to get your card is wearing a police or courier service uniform, or perhaps clothing with your financial institution's logo on it.

Even if you’re suspicious, the person on the phone knows how to be convincing to earn your trust. They may even ask you to cut up your card before handing it over, to win your trust.

Good to know

In one variety of this scam strategy, the fake representative offers to send a car for you or to take you to your ATM or caisse so you can withdraw your money and hand it to them for supposed safekeeping.

Regardless of the specific approach the scammer uses, even if you're skeptical, the person over

Think twice!

  • If in doubt, get the name of the person calling you and end the conversation. Call them back at an official number to confirm the situation. For example, you could call your financial intuition at the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card.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.

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

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

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. You can call call us at 1-800-224-7737 (1-800-CAISSES) to let us know about the situation.

If you find your card, all you have to do is unlock it. But if it turns out your card was lost or stolen, you can request a replacement card in the Desjardins mobile services app or on the web version of AccèsD. You can also call us to cancel your card and request a new one. You'll get it by mail within 5 to 10 business days.

Tech support scam

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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. If you'd like to set up alerts in the mobile app, you can follow the step by step instructions on our Security alerts to prevent fraud page.

You could also receive a text message or a notification in the mobile app asking you to confirm a login attempt on your account or certain credit card transactions. It’s easy! There is no link to click, and we will only ever ask you to reply Yes or No.

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.