Mark Goldberg

Just hang-up

A couple months ago, I noticed that Canada Revenue Agency tweeted a reminder to folks to be wary of phishing scams that may come by email as we begin tax return season.

In the past few months, a number of scams have crossed my desk – by email and by phone.

For months now, I have been receiving multiple calls from an IVR, telling me that, as a result of my last flight on Westjet, I have been selected to receive a $999 credit on a vacation – press “1” for more information. I can’t even remember the last time I flew Westjet, but pressing “1”, I went to an agent who asked if I was over 30 years of age and had a credit card. The correct response took me to an agent for Santos Resorts in Mexico who tried to convince me to hear her pitch for coming to check out their time-shares.

Now, my wife doesn’t like me taking up the time of underpaid, commissioned labourers who regularly call to offer air-duct cleaning services. I asked the agent from Santos to confirm she was salaried, not commissioned, before letting her waste her time delivering her pitch on the speaker phone while I continued my work, giving periodic “uh, huh” sounds. When she paused in her pitch to ask if I had any questions, I asked if she had heard of Canada’s rules for telemarketing. That prompted a hang-up.

I continue to receive spam, mostly dealt with by my email and anti-virus client, but some inevitably trickle through. And I continue to receive annoying phone calls. But as I have said before, our laws went too far, and ended up punishing legitimate firms, not spammers and scammers, inhibiting e-commerce and adoption of digital communications.

Despite last week’s first penalty being levied against a spammer under CASL, I often think the easiest way to deal with with these problems is to take matters into your own hands: just hang up, or hit the delete button.

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