How to keep yourself safe from fraud
You’re one of the family, and we protect our own. So we take fraud very seriously. We work closely with the appropriate authorities to do everything we can to protect our Members from people who use the Virgin Plus trade name for scams, but fraud is an ongoing problem for every big company.
A small number of our Members have been called by fraud “operators” pretending to be representatives from Virgin Plus. What they’re really trying to do is get their hands on your personal information, like passwords, PINs or banking or credit card details, to use for their own fraudulent purposes. To trick you, they might try to sell you a new rate plan (which is phony), ask you to complete a survey, promise you some kind of incentive, or they may tell you that they’re updating your account and want you to “confirm some details”. Another scam frequently employed by fraudsters is to leave you a pre-recorded message that promises travel rewards, or a $100 credit on your next bill, and then directs you to a fraudulent website, or asks you to call a 1-800 number where you’ll be asked for more of your personal information.
If you get a suspicious call...
- If you think you might be talking with a fraud operator, hang up immediately and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Be careful about being directed to websites that may look like virginplus.ca. It’s always best to look us up online through our own homepage.
- If you lose your phone or SIM card, give us a call immediately at 1-888-999-2321 and talk to our Virgin Plus member service team.
- What can we do? We’ll add your lost device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices. When it’s on the list, it can’t ever be used on Virgin Plus’s network, or on the network of any other service provider here in Canada.
If your phone or SIM card is stolen, you should do two things right away:
- Call your local police to report the theft. But please don’t call 911, since it’s not an emergency.
- Give our customer service team a call at 1-888-999-2321 to report the theft. We’ll add your lost device to the national list for lost or stolen mobile devices. When it’s on the list, it can’t ever be used on Virgin Plus’s network, or on the network of any other service provider here in Canada.
Preventing handset theft
Your phone's important, and so is the private info you keep on it. Here are a few easy tips to help stay safe:
- It takes a few extra seconds but always use the lock code or password feature on your device.
- Keep your phone stashed away somewhere safe and out of sight when you’re not using it.
- Use one of the apps that can track or erase your phone if lost or stolen.
- Keep the deets for your phone in a safe place (phone number, make and model, color and appearance details, IMEI and PIN number).
If you use email on your phone, keep an eye out for this type of fraud. Phishing uses email messages with phony addresses, websites or pop-up windows to trick you into giving up personal information which can then be used to steal your identity.
Phishers send out emails that often use logos, design styles and links to make it appear as though they were sent by a legitimate company. A phisher might, for example, send an email that asks you to update your Virgin Plus billing details to keep your account active. The email contains a link that takes you to a website that looks just like ours, so you may be fooled into typing in your login and account details. Or the email may say you have a problem and need to click on or open an attachment to solve it. When you open the attachment, the email installs software that damages your device, or steals your personal information and sends it to the phisher.
Phishing emails can also be more familiar spam, like emails that offer money for work-at-home jobs, or ask for help with frozen bank accounts, or offer discounted pharmaceuticals, trips, etc.
How do I know if an email is really from Virgin Plus?
We do communicate with our Members by email, so we have strict rules about asking for personal information, and about what we include as attachments. Our emails will never request personal information such as passwords, PIN numbers, banking or credit card information. The only exception is if you initially called us on the phone, and we’re following up with an email.
As well, our emails will never include:
- Direct links to virus removal tools.
- Executable file attachments. These are programs with a “.exe” on the end of the file name.
We might send you emails that include:
- Links to pages related to Virgin Plus services.
- A notification of a change to your service, or virus or security alerts. Remember, we'll always refer you to pages on virginplus.ca to get more information.
- Marketing and promotional offers, including contests.
- A customer survey or a link to a customer survey site.
- A request for permission to send you information about our products and services, or those of our partners.
Please think before you click
- Be realistic; if something in an email seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
- If an email asks for personal information like your bank account number, don’t respond.
- Be careful when you see a message that sounds like it’s trying to scare you, or is trying to get you to act right away. As well, be extra careful when you see slightly altered web or email addresses, or emails with spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Don’t forward virus warnings that come with a request to "send this to everyone you know", even if it looks like it comes from a source you trust. These messages are hoaxes, and if they include any links or attachments, they can hurt your computer.
- Try to learn about the communication policies of the companies you use and what types of messages they will send.
How to report a suspicious email
- If you think you’ve been a target of any type of phone or internet fraud, you should call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, at 1-888-495-8501 or visit Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- If the phishing scam involves someone pretending to be us, please email us the details at email@example.com.
Other types of Phishing
Voice Phishing (or “Vishing”) is when a scammer calls you on the phone and pretends to be someone else, so they can trick you into giving up private and personal information, including financial info.
The fraudsters will often use a Caller ID Spoofing feature to make it difficult to trace them, or to make it seem like they’re calling from a legitimate number.
SMS phishing (or “Smishing”) is the use of SMS (short message service) or text messaging to try to trick you into giving up personal information.
The fraudsters can send you a text message asking you to visit a specific website, for example, or to call a phone number. You’ll then be asked for sensitive information, such as a credit card number, in order to access an account or for “security reasons”.
The usual scam text message is designed to grab attention immediately.
Here are some examples:
"We confirm that you have signed up for our dating service. You will be charged $2 a day unless you cancel your order on this URL: [URL]".
“(Name of popular online bank) confirms that you have purchased a computer from (name of popular computer company). Visit [URL] if you did not make this online purchase"
"(Name of a financial institution): Your account has been suspended. Call 235.654.6969 immediately to reactivate"
Any URL contained in the text message will take you to a website that looks legitimate, and where you’ll be asked to enter personal information.
Malware programs (what lots of people call viruses) are transmitted through the internet, and can be maliciously installed on your phone when you download certain apps or files, or if you visit certain websites.
Malware gives criminals access to your phone to disrupt its operation, or to change or steal data. Malware is often built to hide itself, and most of the time it doesn’t show up in the list of programs installed on your phone.
How to protect yourself
- Beware of email, text or Facebook messages that contain shortened links or other attachments.
- Only use apps that let you choose to not share your information with the app developer.
- Before you download an app, do some research and see if it has been reviewed by a reputable source. Avoid the newest apps, even if they’re very popular, until they’ve been out long enough to get reviewed by reputable sources.
- If you jailbreak your phone (i.e. modify or override its operating system to remove restrictions), it’s more susceptible to malware.
How to report malware
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can visit the Canadian Identity Theft Support Centre or call them at 1-866-802-3609.
On November 3rd, in an effort to reduce wireless number portability fraud and protect Member-information within the industry, Virgin Plus as well as other wireless carriers are moving to port authorization.
The missed call scam (or one ring scam) is a type of fraud where scammers call your phone and hang up quickly. Your phone shows it as a missed call from a number you don’t recognize. Lots of people always return missed calls, and that’s what the scammers are counting on. If you return the call, you may end up paying a premium rate for the call without warning. The same scam can be done using text messaging or SMS.
How to protect yourself
- Never reply to missed calls or text messages from numbers you do not recognize.
- Never call or text a phone number that starts with 1-900, unless you know the number and are aware of the cost.
Scam artists now use a whole range of tricks to try to steal your information online and offline, including digging up your personal information from social networking sites, from your computer, your home’s mailbox and even your recycling bin or garbage can.
How to protect yourself
- Be careful about posting personal information on public websites like social networking sites, since those details can be used by fraudsters to convince you that they represent Virgin Plus or other companies.
- Keep your passwords, bank account information and social insurance number confidential at all times, and check your bank and credit card statements all the time.
- Buy a paper shredder so you can safely get rid of personal documents. Your identity can be stolen by scam artists who find credit card bills and other papers in your recycling or garbage.
Social engineering is what we call the use of good old-fashioned deception and manipulation to trick people into giving out confidential information, so the scammers can commit fraud or get into your computer system.
Social Engineering needs human interaction, through the internet, over the phone or in person. Their goal is to trick you into releasing personal information like passwords, PINs, banking or credit card details, which can then be used for further fraud.
A caller may try to sell new rate plans (which are phony), ask you to complete a survey, promise you some kind of incentive, or they may tell you that they’re updating your account and want you to “confirm” details.
How to protect yourself
- Don’t give out your personal information over the phone or via email. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to request information such as passwords, PINs, bank account information or credit card numbers. The exception is if you first called them and they’re helping you with an issue.
- Never give sensitive information to an unknown or unverified source.
- If you’re not sure whether a phone call, visit or an email request is legitimate, you can double-check by calling or emailing the company that is supposedly contacting you. For example, if someone calls you from Virgin Plus, and you’re suspicious, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or call our customer service team at 1-888-999-2321 to confirm we’re trying to reach you.
- If you feel someone’s intimidating, pressuring or manipulating you, don’t give them any personal information at all.
In some cases, scammers will use false information or a stolen identity to try to get a postpaid subscription to a service like a phone plan. They’ll never pay for the service, and may cause trouble for an innocent victim.
How to protect yourself
- Keep an eye on your credit report to look for subscriptions or other debts that don’t belong to you.
- Don’t give out your personal information over the phone or via email. Legitimate companies will never call or email you to request information such as passwords, PINs, bank account information or credit card numbers.
- To make sure you’re dealing with Virgin Plus, you can always contact us directly. Be careful about posting personal information on public websites, such as social networking sites. Fraudsters might use those details to convince you that they represent Virgin Plus or other companies.
- Buy a paper shredder so you can safely get rid of personal documents.
- Keep your passwords, bank account information and social insurance number confidential at all times.
- Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements for suspicious charges.
How to report subscription fraud
If you think you’re the victim of subscription fraud with us, you should give our member service team a call immediately at 1-888-999-2321.
SIM swap is a type of identity theft that occurs when a fraudster uses a combination of techniques to obtain your personal Virgin Plus account information. They use this information to satisfy our strictly enforced Members authentication processes to request a SIM change. After the SIM change, the fraudster will use your account for voice/text/data/roaming, and possibly to commit further identity fraud.
On October 5th, in an effort to reduce Sim Swap fraud and protect our Members, Virgin Plus is moving to Sim Swap authorization.
How to protect yourself
Never Accept a SIM change request if you did not request such a change.
If you suspect your device or SIM card has been compromised in any way, please contact the Virgin Plus Loss Prevention team at 1 800 509-9904 immediately.
You should also:
- Inform your financial institution as soon as possible as mobile phone numbers are used for banking website authentication.
- Update ALL of your passwords used for online access to banking, virginplus.ca, social media sites, etc.
- Call us immediately at 1-800-509-9904. Give us as much info as you can about the exact date and time of the call.
- If you think you’ve been a target of any type of phone or internet fraud, you should also call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or head to antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.