Protect yourself against fraud

It has been brought to our attention that the VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games) and Vancouver 2010 names have been abused in relation to some e-mail scams and other fraudulent or inappropriate conduct. Below, you’ll find some basic tips and links to help you safeguard your computer and your personal information.

Online scams try to persuade the e-mail receiver to submit personal information or make an upfront payment to receive a “prize.” Scam e-mails and websites often pretend to represent legitimate companies in order to ask for your confidential and financial information, such as your social insurance number, financial account number or password.

If you receive an unsolicited e-mail purporting to be from Vancouver 2010/VANOC do not open it. Delete it. Do not provide any personal details or pay any money over to the person who sent the e-mail. Recognize that Vancouver 2010/VANOC will never ask you to provide confidential information through regular e-mail.
Listed below are some common forms of scam: 

  • Phishing
    In this scam, fraudsters “fish” for your personal information by sending out mass e-mails that appear to be from a reputable company. Within the e-mail you may be encouraged to click a link to a fraudulent page that’s designed to either capture your personal information or to download unauthorized software onto your computer. An odd greeting in the subject line, spelling or grammar errors and an urgent tone (“you must act now!”) are hallmarks of the e-mail phishing scam. These messages are crafted to sound believable. For more information on phishing, click visit

  • Smishing
    Also known as SMS phishing, this scam uses the text messaging technology of cellphones. The cellphone user will receive a text message that contains a hyperlink. If the user follows the link he or she will download a virus or worm. For more information on smishing, visit

  • Vishing
    This is a relatively new scam that uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to trick individuals into betraying their personal and financial information over the telephone. Typically, the individual will receive an urgent message that claims to be from a legitimate institution. When the victim calls the number, the individual is instructed to enter his/her personal numerical information on the telephone keypad in order to verify his or her identity. In this scam, the victim’s caller ID is often manipulated to look as though the scam artist has called from a bank or other legitimate institution, and the message is crafted to sound believable. For more information on vishing, visit

  • Prize pitches
    You may come in contact with a prize pitch scam by e-mail, telephone or mail. This scam is usually couched in the form of a prize notification. You will be led to believe that you must pay a series of bogus taxes and fees in order to receive or collect the prize.

    A variation of this scam is the recovery pitch. If you have been a victim of a prize pitch scheme, you may receive an e-mail or a call from someone promising you that they can recover your prize or money for a small cost. The caller may pose as a police officer, government revenue employee, customs agent or legitimate Vancouver 2010 employee.

    If you are sent an e-mail or similar mailing which states you have won an "Olympic" lottery or anything similar, this will be a scam.

    As a general rule, if you have not entered a contest, you won't have won a prize and you should treat the e-mail with extreme caution. Furthermore, you’re not required to pay taxes or fees in order to receive a prize from a legitimate contest or lottery in Canada.

If you are approached by someone who suggests they can connect your business to opportunities through VANOC/Vancouver 2010, decline the offer and pay them nothing. All business opportunities relating to VANOC will be listed on or BC Bid, the Province of British Columbia’s online public sector bid opportunities site.

Reporting Fraud

If you receive an e-mail that asks you to provide confidential information, do not respond to it. Please notify us by sending a message to To help us with our investigation, please include a description of the incident and attach any e-mails you received that you suspect may be fraudulent. Avoid changing or retyping any part of the original message as this may interfere with our investigation. Once you have forwarded it to us, delete the e-mail from your inbox.
Staying Safe OnlineCommon sense goes a long way in keeping you secure online. Just as you lock your doors and windows at home, there are actions you can take to help keep your information safe online.

Protect yourself:

  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. 
  • Never click on the link in the email to go to a web page. Type in the web address by hand into your web browser.
  • If you are in any doubt about a possible phishing attack, contact the company that the email claims to be from at a number you already have (do not use any numbers given in the email).
  • Never disclose personal information in response to an unsolicited email or over the phone

Security experts recommend taking the following actions:

  • Install anti-virus software on your computer
    When you connect to the Internet, your computer is exposed to the risk of infection from viruses. Viruses can attack via websites, e-mail attachments or by spreading from computer to computer.
  • Use a firewall on your computer
    A firewall is a program that blocks unwanted traffic between your computer and the Internet. It’s designed to stop incoming viruses from attacking your computer and to block unauthorized programmes on your computer from accessing other machines over the Internet.
  • Block spyware on your computer
    Spyware is a general term for hidden programs on your computer that invade your privacy. They gather data about you and send it over the Internet without your permission. Spyware can hijack your web browser and display unwanted pop-up advertising on your computer. There are several free anti-spyware programs available that you can find using your search engine of choice.
Other Online Resources

Please note VANOC is not responsible for the content on the websites listed below:

The RCMP provides comprehensive information on types of scams and advice to the victims of fraud at

For general information security awareness, visit Get Safe Online
For Microsoft users, visit
For Mac users, visit
For Internet Security, Firewall and Anti-Virus Software:

For Virus Alerts and Information:

To Report Scams or Fraud:

  • Reporting Economic Fraud Online (RECOL):
  • Phone Busters – The Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre:

Details of known scams

"Ashland Financial Services Lottery Scam"

This mail comes from Ashland Financial Services and requests that you complete a form with personal information and submit by e-mail or fax in order to claim your prize. The text in the e-mail might look similar to the following:

"After a successful completion of the third category draws for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic. We are pleased to inform you officially that you have emerged one of the winners of the LOTTERY PROGRAMS, which is part of our promotional draws. Participants were selected through a ballot system drawn from over 56,000,000 names and addresses of individuals from data base of the North American phone directories, as part of our international promotions program.

Your Name emerged as a wining ticket and consequently won in the third category. You have therefore been awarded a lump sum pay out of USD $50,000.00 (FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS), which is the winning payout for third category winners. This is from the prize money of US $ 1,950,000.00 shared among thirty nine (39) international winners in the Third category.

Final payment of winning will be disbursed by Financial Security Company Based in Ottawa, you are therefore requested to fill and complete the below you are to fax or email to the ASHLAND FINANCIAL SERVICES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."