We’re always warning folks to beware of telemarketers asking for personal information over the phone. Jenny Antonio, of Surrey, recently answered a call and was on guard but was more surprised by who was on the other end.

“It said it was Telus,” she said.

She called CTV News about her concerns because you can never be sure if the call is legitimate or if someone is trying to scam you.

The caller was trying to get her to switch from Shaw to Telus to get a better deal.

“They offered me a contract,” Antonio said.

She said it was a better deal and was interested until she says they asked for her driver’s licence number and Medical Services Plan number.

“I said to him immediately, I thought, well are you trying to steal my identity? Immediately I said that to him,” she explained.

Antonio says she had recently attended a Vancity seminar about how to protect herself from fraud and says that’s why she was cautious and why she contacted CTV News about it.

We followed up and confirmed the call was indeed from Telus and that part of the process for creating a new account is to complete a credit check and to do that two pieces of ID are required.

“It was Telus. That surprises me,” Antonio said.

And it surprises Bruce Cran with the Consumers’ Association of Canada too.

“You’re surrendering your private information to somebody that you don’t know and I’m absolutely amazed that people continue to do this.”

Telus posts a warning on its website about unsolicited calls, advising consumers not to provide any personal information over the phone.

However, the company defended its cold calling practice to generate new business, saying that all telecoms do it.

CTV News confirmed it. Bell, the parent company of CTV News, does it, and so do Rogers and Shaw.

However, only Shaw said it didn't ask for credit check information over the phone stating, 'Our Outbound Sales agents do NOT ask, or take any credit card information from prospective customers over the phone. When setting up new customer accounts, our agents ask for the customer’s name and phone number only. Individuals who choose to sign up for Shaw services are required to pay only after their services have been installed...'

Rogers said it only calls former wireless and residential customers. However, if anything has changed with regard to the information they have on file for those individuals they may ask for personal information to set up an account. 

Cran says be wary of any cold call that ask for personal information. 

"I don't think it's appropriate at all," he said. 

“When I told him I wasn’t going to give this information, he says, well you can call back. Check to see if it is really Telus,” said Antonio.

If you get a call pitching services or products and it’s something you want, here’s what you should do:

  • Look of up the number yourself.
  • If the call came on your landline, don’t hit redial.
  • If you call back from the landline, wait awhile to make sure the original call disconnected, or even unplug the jack and reconnect it before making the call. Sometimes scammers will hang on to the line so you may just be calling them back.
  • If you can, call back using a cellphone.

“I don’t think I’ll do any more business unless I call them, because there’re too many scams going on. You can’t recognize who the scam artist is,” Antonia explained.

The Consumers’ Association of Canada’s advice is to just hang up.