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Phone and email scams continue

The OPP has received numerous complaints about an increase in phone and email scams. One resident reported receiving three questionable phone calls within the last two weeks.

Common scams or “pitches” include:

Vacation Scam:  People are contacted over the telephone by someone claiming to offer a “free” or “low cost” vacation. They will ask for a credit card number and personal information in order to hold the vacation or they may request money in advance.

Air Miles Scam:  Deceptive telephone solicitation from telemarketers claiming to represent Air Miles and claiming the homeowner has won 10,000 to 100,000 Air Miles.  Often an automated message states to “press 1” to speak to an operator and in some instances, after pressing 1, an operator will come on the line and request a credit card number.

These scams typically involve individuals that make offers for telecommunications, Internet, finance, medical and energy services. This category of scams may also include offers such as extended warranties, insurance, and door-to-door sales.

The two most reported service scams targeting Canadians are the coantivirus software scam and credit card interest rate reduction scams.

Phone Number Spoofing:  A phone number has been programmed into the system so the homeowner’s call display indicates a different number than the originators. Consider this a “red flag”.  Why would a legitimate company try to obscure their identity?

Emergency scam: The Grandparents scam plays upon emotions to rob them of their money. In the typical scenario of an emergency scam, a grandparent receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. Callers go on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in a car accident, are having trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money. In some cases, scammers pretend to be your old neighbour or a friend of the family, but for the most part, the emergency scam is directed at grandparents.

INCOME TAX SCAM: Suspicious email scams have resurfaced from persons claiming to be employed by Canada Revenue Agency. The email states “Dear Sir or Madam: We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your fiscal activity we are determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $521.51 under section 501(c) (3) of the Canada Revenue Agency Code”

Clicking on the link provided takes you to a page that resembles the Canada Revenue Agency site but is not. Police contacted Canada Revenue Agency and were told that the Canada Revenue Agency will never email person with this type of information, nor will they ask you through an email for sensitive information such as SIN numbers.

The OPP remind the public, if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Tips that will help you protect yourself and your family from scams
–       If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.
–       ALWAYS get independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time or commitment.
–       Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
–       If you receive a phone call out of the blue, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent.
–       Do not give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on all forms of mass marketing fraud, Internet fraud, identity theft complaints and others.
For more information you can visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or dial 1-888-495-8501.

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