By Nancy Page, special contributor

Many of us have had fraudulent phone calls or emails. Last year, nearly 20,000 Canadians were victims. Here is advice on how to avoid the most common examples.

• Taxpayer Scam

Someone calls you and claims to be an employee of either the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada. They say you owe back taxes, have unpaid balances, etc. and insist that if you don’t pay right away you will be arrested. What do you do? Hang up and report it.

• Counterfeit cheque

In this scam, a scammer sends a text message or email to people offering them a job as a caregiver, admin. assistant, mystery shopper, etc. You receive a cheque and are asked to cash it and return some of the money to the scammer. You find out later that the cheque was a fake, but the money has already been sent out of your bank account. Many banks are now on the lookout for this, but in order not to get caught in this type of fraud, delete the message immediately and report it.

• Emergency scams – Vulnerable targets – Seniors

You receive an email from someone claiming to be a grandchild or close friend or relative needing money because he/she has problems returning from a vacation, has been in a car accident, or some other urgent situation. A grandchild will ask Granny not to tell Mom or Dad. After sending the money by bank transfer directly to an email address, the victim finds out that the recipient was not who he said he was. What do you do? Send that request to CAFC OR RCMP.

• Request for Personal Information

When you are asked (telephone, text, email) for your birth date, banking information, or Social Insurance Number Do not respond. This information will most likely be used to steal your identity or your money. Report it immediately. Here is where you can make your report:

Canadian Anti Fraud Centre or call 1-888-495-8501

or to the CAFC Fraud Reporting System CAFCFRS