• A new phone scam in Canada is targeting people in Quebec by pretending to be the Ministry of Justice.
  • This, however, is just one of many scam calls that Quebecers and Canadians alike have to deal with on a daily basis, particularly in recent weeks.

A new phone scam in Canada, which is one of many, is claiming to be from the Government of Quebec, particularly the Ministry of Justice. It's important you don't fall prey to it if they try to contact you in the coming days.

I know I'm not alone when I say that I have been getting a ridiculous number of scam calls to my cellphone in the last couple of weeks.

I find they often come attached to what looks like a Canadian phone number (usually a 416 area-code, which my phone number also has, despite living in Montreal, because... change is hard, okay?). When I answer the call, it is almost always an automated message of some kind or another.

Then, yesterday, CJAD News in Montreal also reported that their readers had reached out to them to express concern over an increased number of spam calls, though this time with numbers from around the globe.

I've received calls in the last two weeks that span from Service Canada threatening my arrest to DHL delivery in China attempting to express a message to me in a language I do not speak (Mandarin? Cantonese? I couldn't be sure).

So, I went looking to see if other people in Quebec had been receiving an increase in these robocalls as well.

Turns out, of course, they were. But why?

The scams from government agencies are relatively easy to understand. There has long been an issue in Canada with international call centres that prey on Canadians in regards to taxes, visas, and other legal issues.

In the last year, the RCMP even warned of an ongoing telemarketing scam that attempted to intimidate Canadians by posing as the Canadian Revenue Agency and demanding the payment of tax debt.

At times, the calls prey on immigrants who are intimidated into believing they must provide money or information in order to avoid their immigrant visas being revoked.

Others target any and all Canadians by way of impersonating Service Canada employees. The government of Canada reminds Canadians that Service Canada and the information service 1-800-O-Canada will not request personal information over the phone, such as a SIN number or passport number, either by call or text message.

The RCMP is in an ongoing fight to take down illegal call centre networks that exist abroad but attempt to take advantage of Canadians in Canada.

Since I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, I cannot know what it is that they are attempting to express when I get calls claiming to be from DHL China.

But, clearly, I'm not the only one receiving them.

DHL has addressed the issue on their website, reminding customers not to interact with the calls in any way. By that they mean don't press any keys if prompted to, don't call the number back, "discontinue the call immediately if it seems suspicious," and avoid providing any further information about yourself, particularly if the caller sounds automated. 

The Quebec Ministry of Justice has also been warning Quebecers about automated calls from someone claiming to work for the Ministry who then asks for confirmation of a Social Insurance Number.

This scam seems to have been going on for some time, with CTV News Montreal reporting incidents earlier this month.

Translation: "It seems to me that it would be relevant for a journalist to question telecom, RCMP, etc. to know why so many scam-calls have been happening in Canada for a few days."

We are obviously seeing an explosion of calls made by robots, and everyone seems to be interested.


Unfortunately, it seems that there is little we can do as citizens, aside from being vigilant and attempting to ignore the calls, as frequent as they may be.

In Quebec, if you believe you have been the victim of a phishing attempt, you can contact your local police department, the Sûreté du Québec (514-310-4141) or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (1-888-495-8501). You may also notify the ministÚre de la Justice (1-866-536-5140, option 4).

In Canada, you should report deceptive telemarketing to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1‑888-495-8501.

If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, you can always contact your local police service. To report the theft of your Social Insurance Number (SIN), contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.

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