Protecting yourself against brand-spoofing fraudsters

January 16, 2020
3 minute read

Beware of imitations! The saying is worth remembering if some guy on the street corner is insisting that cheap wristwatch, handbag or jewellery is name-brand.

It’s good advice to remember online, too – where fraudsters are imitating established, trusted brands, including Canada Post.

The threat comes in two forms: phishing emails or text messages and scam “win a phone” sponsored ads on Facebook or Instagram. They pretend to be from Canada Post. They’re actually from fraudsters.

The imitating emails and texts circulate from time to time. They know Canadians are very busy, get a lot of emails, shop online a lot, and get a lot of deliveries. So fraudsters send these phishing or “brand-spoofing” messages, hoping consumers will give them only a quick glance before clicking. But one click and they start trying to collect personal or financial information – and a payment.

Multiple examples of email and text-based fraud show fraudsters imitating Canada Post

Brands that are well-known and trusted are often spoofed. If trust in the brand is high, the fraudsters will catch some people unaware – whether or not the imitation is good. The messages we’ve seen that pretend to be from Canada Post have different levels of sophistication. Sloppy ones have spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors. Others read well and look polished and professional – and mimic Canada Post’s corporate logo, colours and design.

The fake messages almost always have a link or button to click on. They might:

  • tell you to click on a link to arrange delivery of your package.
  • apologize for your “bad experience” with our services, and offer an unspecified reward, one click away, “as our way of saying sorry.”
  • tell you that your package is “held in our warehouse, awaiting delivery. Please confirm payment (2.99 CAD)” and again, providing a link to click on.

Fake ads on Facebook and Instagram almost always pretend that Canada Post is giving away the latest iPhone or Samsung mobile device. They declare that you’ve somehow won a contest or random draw, and you simply need to pay a few dollars for shipping. It’s a scam that ignores the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To protect yourself against fake emails, text messages and posts, here’s what you need to know and what you need to do:

What you need to know:

  • When Canada Post makes a delivery attempt, we leave a delivery notice card at your door or in your mailbox. We don’t email you unless you asked to be notified by email.
  • Canada Post doesn’t send unsolicited emails asking for your credit card number, account or invoice numbers, address or passwords.

What you need to do:

  • Unless you have asked to be notified by email about an item being delivered by Canada Post, delete it immediately.
  • Don’t click any link in an email or text message you suspect is spam: it may contain malicious viruses.
  • Always get the accurate and current delivery status of a parcel from canadapost.ca, by entering your item’s tracking number in the tracking tool you see prominently on the home page.
  • When in doubt, you can contact us directly to be sure.
  • If you suspect you’re the target of fraudulent activity, you may also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501.