Phone Verification Authentication

Bulletin alert!

September 24, 2019: There has been an increase in Phone Verification Authentication scams.

Phone Verification Authentication or PVA is a tool used by online account providers (ie. social networks, classifieds websites, etc.). The process confirms the owner of a phone number before approving the creation of their new online account. It suggests that a real person owns the phone and the same person will operate the account.

Recent reporting to the CAFC indicates that fraudsters are overcoming this authentication process by registering online classified ads using other people's telephone number. The scam starts when you post an ad on a classified site (ie. Craigslists) and include your phone number in the contact information. The fraudster will contact you saying that they are interested in purchasing your item. However, they will mention that there are a lot of scammers on the site. They will claim to want to verify that you are a real person before sending you any money. The fraudster will send you a verification code and ask that you to send it back to them. Once the fraudster receives the verification code, they will enter it to prove that they own your phone number. Voilà! Your phone number is now linked to an account that will be used for spam or fraudulent activities.

Warning signs – How to protect yourself

  • Do not send a verification code to anyone.
  • You should not receive a verification code if you have not requested one.
  • Report and delete unsolicited text messages.

Were you a victim?

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Toll-free: 1-888-495-8501

Competition Bureau of Canada
Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358

Ontario Provincial Police
Toll-free: 1-888-310-1122

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Toll-free: 1-866-461-3222

Better Business Bureau
(BBB Locator Tool)


Fraud: Recognize, report and stop it!

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