I’m Here From The Stats Can, There’s Nothing To Fear?

Hi! It’s me, ya know, the completely absentee blogger? I don’t think I’ve written anything since…January? Gees! I have a metric boatload of things I want to say, but this one feels kind of timely and important.

The other day, I was working away and my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but for some reason I answered it. On the other end was some dude who said he was from Statistics Canada and I had to answer some questions about the workforce. He then told, not asked, me about a letter that I received in the mail and about the fact that someone was at our house the day before and left a yellow notice on the door. When I told him that there was no notice, he kind of implied that I must be either lying or an idiot because there was a yellow notice on our door! We happened to have been out of town the day they supposedly came by, and we didn’t find any notice when we came back. But this guy would not be dissuaded. Then he started repeating that this survey is mandatory, and asking for names and dates of birth. At this point, every alarm bell about phone scams and phishing started clanging and clattering in my head. What do they tell you are the three big scam red flags? They make you curious, tell you it’s urgent, and appear to come from places of authority. While this one didn’t make me curious, this person said he came from the government, and there was a sense of urgency or at least necessity when the guy kept saying completion of the survey was mandatory. He got told that I was not answering any questions over the phone, and asked if there was somewhere I could call. I guess he was prepared for this and he gave me a reference number and a phone number to call back.

Of course, I googled the phone number and did find out that Statistics Canada is doing a Labour Force Survey where they ask the same people questions about how much and where they work over the course of six months.

So I called them back and did the survey. When I was done, I gave them some feedback that maybe chasing people down on the phone and demanding personal information in this time of phone scams isn’t the smartest way to get their data. I don’t think they took me seriously, saying this was more efficient than printed mail and email. Ok then. But as soon as I called in and said “I got a weird call about a mandatory labour force survey…” I only got that far before the woman was chuckling on the other end of the phone as if to say, “Here comes another person who didn’t want to answer our caller’s questions.” How efficient can that be?

I don’t know what the solution is, but maybe they should train their people to not be so damn pushy! And maybe they should train them that Canada Post can lose mail or be slow to deliver it…but then again, if the people making the calls live here, they should already know that.

So if you get one of these pushy people calling you, it might be legit. I’d still check though. But it has better chances if they tell you to call 1-833-977-8287 after you tell them “I’m not answering your questions. Where can I check into this?” And after you’ve done your first survey, the next ones can be done through a link in your email, so you don’t have to keep scheduling phone calls. Phew! I know I was happy to hear that.

I don’t mind completing these things. I just don’t like feeling like I’m getting taken for a ride. This is the government who also put out anti-fraud information. I know it’s a different arm of the government, but they should know better!

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