Pembina Valley RCMP offer tips to combat phone scams

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Recently Pembina Valley RCMP have received reports of suspicious phone calls where the caller attempts to coerce personal information, such as social insurance numbers and banking information, by identifying themselves as an investigator from a government agency or some other investigative body.

The caller ID information shows a local number or what appears to be a legitimate 1 (800) number when Googled – police say these calls made to the community are from “spoofed” phone numbers.

“Today’s savvy criminals have learned how to manipulate technology, ‘spoofing’ their phone number to falsify the information that is transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity,” Pembina Valley RCMP say per a release. “Nowadays this is a common practice with telephone scams. The phone number and the person you are speaking with may seem legitimate but in fact this is a criminal. The criminal may be polite or aggressive on the phone or it may be an automated message.”

Police also say the scammer may advise the victim that their social insurance number is compromised, they are collecting an outstanding Canada Revenue Agency balance or some other seemingly legitimate reason and request information or moneys be transferred to “clear things up”. When this personal information is given, it allows the criminal to access the victim’s finances, open credit cards and ultimately steal an identity and/or money.

It is important for the public to remember that legitimate government or investigative agencies will not ask for personal financial or social insurance information over the phone.

Some additional tips:

  • If you answer the phone and the caller, or recording asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls you should just hang up.Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance numbers, passwords or other identifying information in response to the unexpected calls.Even information such as mother’s maiden name, where you spent your honeymoon and other common password reset questions will put your personal finances in jeopardy.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or the government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.

Further information can be found on the Federal Communications Commission website on spoofing at https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id

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