Public beware of frauds and scams

The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police are reminding

the public that there are many schemes being used to defraud the public and businesses.

OPP Constable Phil Young says the scammers seem to be hitting the local area hard with police receiving several reports.

He emphasizes if you receive any unsolicited communication by any means asking for money to be given or that you won money, be cautious and suspicious and never give out any personal, credit or banking information to anyone over the phone, by letter, email, fax or any other means of communication.

He says a popular tactic is to present the potential victim with a situation that is either very serious and/or needs immediate attention making them feel pressured to provide information on the spot, but don’t fall for that.

Hang up and call police.

Young provided some other examples.

  • Prize Scam – fraudster tells you that you’ve won a prize or lottery, but must pay a fee first to collect that prize
  • Computer Virus Scam – you will receive an e-mail stating your computer has a virus and there will be a link to click on to fix your computer. As soon as you click on that link, the fraudster now has complete access to your computer and all personal/financial information you may have stored
  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam – criminals extort money from their victims through a fraudulent communication that claims to be CRA. The communication requests personal information such as a SIN number, credit card number, bank account number or passport number. They make false claims about the victims owing money and they are very aggressive.
  • Internet Card Scam – where a pop-up survey displays on a computer screen with a survey where an iPhone can be won. The survey requires the entry of personal and credit card particulars. Charges then being to appear on credit card statements that the victim did not authorize.
  • Credit Card Scam – Fraudsters have been calling the public lately claiming to be employees from the fraud department at a bank.  They proceed to advise people that their credit card has been compromised and in order to verify they have the right account, to please read them your credit card number.  In these cases, the fraudsters already have your name and first four digits on the Visa or MasterCard.  This tactic is used to make them sound legitimate.

He adds any legitimate agency will never request a payment by Interac e-transfer, online currency such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or pre-paid gift cards such as Google Play, iTunes, Vanilla, etc.  Scammers will also ask to purchase large denomination gift cards as form of payment, so avoid that option too.
“Awareness is key when it comes to recognizing frauds and scams.  There are so many types out there but the better educated the public are, the less chance they have to fall victim to these ruthless scammers.  Don’t keep it a secret – talk to a friend, family member, neighbour, or police before making any decisions to send money to people you don’t know,” says Young.

If you believe that someone is posing as a fraudster on the phone, hang up. Also, you can file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.  If you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your local police agency.

Remember, you can Stop Phone Fraud – Just Hang Up!

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