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CAFC Bulletin: Continuity Scam


As E-Commerce continues to grow, so do the opportunities to become a victim through online purchases – specifically with a credit card. Continuity scams largely take place when someone who is online observes a pop-up or advertisement offering a free trial or free gift upon completion of a survey. Consumers who participate are often asked to provide a credit card to pay for shipping and handling. Unless victims review the terms and conditions, it is unlikely they will see the hidden fees associated to the offer, which includes overpriced monthly charges that are nearly impossible to cancel.

Continuity scams offer free weight loss pills or free subscriptions to health & beauty products– assuming you sign up and provide a credit card for shipping. Victims will receive their product and witness a charge to their credit card. The prices can vary from $1.99 to $1,000 and victims will continue to be charged until the company is contacted and services cancelled. Additionally, it is not uncommon for victims to be charged more than once per month by multiple different

In order to stop the fraud, victims should contact the suspected company requesting a stop payment and keep records of all correspondence. Victims can also refuse delivery of goods and should contact their respective financial institution or credit card provider to request a charge back due to fraud.

Warning signs - How to protect yourself

  • Review all fine print as well as terms and conditions before making a purchase.
  • Conduct your own searches of the internet to see if anybody has suggested the offer is a scam.
  • Beware of paid advertisements online. Paid banner ads are not always affiliated to the website you are viewing.
  • Review credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at

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