Spam, Phishing and Spyware

Spam, Phishing and SpywareSpam refers to any commercial unsolicited electronic message that is received by individuals, most commonly by email. Unsolicited emails are often advertisements, but can also be a source of scams, computer viruses and offensive content.

Phishing is an online scam where an individual impersonates a trustworthy person or organization in an attempt to acquire a user’s personal information which can be used for identity theft.

Any software that is installed on a user’s computer without their consent is considered to be spyware. Spyware is often used to steal personal information by monitoring or manipulating an individual’s computer.

Learning More About Spam, Phishing and Spyware

The Canadian Consumer Handbook provides tips, contacts, and other information for consumers, including information on spam, phishing and spyware. The Handbook is produced as a partnership by the Consumer Measures Committee, a group of senior federal, provincial, and territorial government consumer affairs officials.

In December 2010, the Government of Canada passed anti-spam legislation. Once in force, this new law will help protect Canadian consumers and businesses from unwanted spam and other electronic threats. is the website for information related to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. The site features plain language information and answers to frequently asked questions about the law, and provides tips on how to protect yourself from spam.

Get Cyber Safe is a national public awareness campaign created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online. The Get Cyber Safe website contains information and tips for consumers on a number of cyber security related issues, including phishing and smishing scams.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is working to protect and inform consumers of financial services. The FCAC offers a tip sheet on how consumers can protect themselves from e-mail and telephone fraud.

Reporting Cases of Online Fraud

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) collects information on illegal schemes, identity theft and complaints from Canadian consumers and/or victims. It is jointly managed by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Competition Bureau of Canada.

If a consumer suspects that they may be a target of fraud, or if they have fallen victim to fraud and want to report it, they should contact the CAFC.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Box 686
North Bay, Ontario P1B 8J8
Toll-Free: 1-888-495-8501
Toll-Free Fax: 1-888-654-9426