Scams and toll fraud

Get tips on protecting your home and business from scams and toll fraud

Toll fraud, or theft of long-distance service, is big business in North America. In Canada, it is estimated to be as high as $100 million annually.

What is toll fraud?


Toll fraud is the theft of long-distance service by an unknown third party. The 'thieves' can be 'call sell' operators. These are groups that steal and sell long-distance for profit. They can also be 'phone phreaks' who are hackers that do it for entertainment and sometimes for profit.

However, whether they do it for profit or fun, the effects can be devastating. Some businesses have been hit to the tune of $25,000 to $30,000 by fraudulent long-distance charges in a single weekend.

Understand the liability


Our tariffs and Long Distance Service Terms state that if a call has originated with or passed through a customer’s equipment, they are responsible for the charges associated with the call, whether the call is authorized or not. This means that if you're a victim of toll fraud, you're liable for the costs.

Tips for protection at home


  • Never disclose personal information and do not send money to people who are unknown to you
  • Do not call back a long distance number or respond to emails or letters from people or companies you do not recognize
  • Be cautious about accepting charges for long distance calls. Verify who is placing the call, and make sure you understand what type of call you're accepting charges for
  • Check your monthly statement and look for unfamiliar charges or changes

For further information, see our support article on how to minimize the risk of toll fraud.

Tips for business protection


Plan ahead. While a good security program will vastly reduce your risk, it cannot guarantee you won't be a target for fraud. Develop procedures to be followed if you suspect your system has been breached.

Knowledge is your best defence. TELUS wants to arm you with as much information as possible to help you avoid toll fraud. While these guidelines may not completely eliminate the risk, they can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of toll fraud.

For further tips for business protection, see the support article on how to minimize the risk of toll fraud.

To report an incident of phone fraud


  1. Contact your telephone equipment maintainer immediately
  2. Call your long-distance provider immediately
  3. Report the incident to your local police authority

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