RCMP: Don't fall victim to scammers this year

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The RCMP are noticing an increasing number of people falling victim to scammers who have tricked them out of hundreds of dollars in past years and remind people to be vigilant when receiving strange or odd phone calls.

Often, the calls can be as simple as telling people they are eligible for a heavily discounted vacation, sometimes claiming to be from a reputable and well-known travel company or airlines. They ask the person for banking or credit card info to quickly make a deposit.  Many recall such phone-scams with an automated “this is your Captain speaking” greeting. Since then, scammers have adapted their schemes to make them appear more genuine.  Never give away personal information over the phone.

RCMP feel it’s important to remind people to not to give out any personal or banking info over the phone. People asking for payment in ‘gift cards’ is a clear and obvious sign of fraud, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. An example of scammers extorting people is telling someone their loved one is in the jail or hospital and they need to send money, which is often asked to be sent in the form of cards such as ‘iTunes’ cards to help or free them.

Another scam circulating is claiming to be Revenue Canada telling people they will be fined or sent to jail if they don’t immediately pay up. Government agencies don’t accept payments in gift cards or demand personal banking information and any calls can be looked at as a scam.

The RCMP also tell people to be cautious of trusting what may appear to be a local phone number on the call display or even what might sound like a local accent as scammers are often situated around the world yet have the means and ability to hijack local phone numbers trying to legitimize the appearance of their scam.  Exercise caution and diligence.

If someone is claiming to be calling from your bank, credit card, Canada Revenue or any other agency asking for money please don’t hesitate to request their name, position, and even work identification number. Also, don’t hesitate to be abrupt and simply hang up on them.

Scammers love people who are lonely and want to talk – it gives them the opportunity to ply their schemes. These folks get added to scammers’ lists and are then inundated with these calls. This is why scammers are in operation because lonely people like the elderly tend to give them the time of the day. If everyone quickly hung up on them their ‘business’ would dry up.

Should these calls be reported? Absolutely. Report them to the police only if you have given anything to the scammer if you haven’t given out personal info or payment you may report these sorts of calls to the Federal Government’s ‘Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’ online or at 1-888-495-8501.

The CAFC and the RCMP work together to inform law enforcement agencies around the globe on financial crimes and frauds victimizing Canadians. Last year, dozens of scammers at call centres in India were arrested in relation to a Canada Revenue Agency scheme that defrauded Canadians out of a lot of money, including victims in Carman and the surrounding RM’s the RCMP.