Ontario Provincial Police are issuing another reminder about sending out money, as various scams continue to make the rounds during Fraud Prevention Month.
One scam involves the victim receiving a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a family member, who desperately needs money after some kind of mishap or incident.
Another scam sees victims targeted not only on the phone, but through mail, text messages or email, by someone claiming to be with Canada Revenue Agency.
Personal information is requested, such as a credit card or bank number, social insurance number or even a passport number, with the reasoning of a refund or benefit payment being made in the very near future.
Failure to do so is met with coercive language suggesting fines or arrest.
Here are some warning signs if you receive correspondence from someone requesting/demanding money:
- The scammer makes the request sound very urgent and time sensitive, which means the victim doesn’t have time to verify the details.
- The scammer preys on the victims’ emotions by fostering a sense of fear.
- The scammer begs the victim not to let anyone know about the request.
- The scammer asks the victim to send money immediately via money transfer, or even thought email money transfer.
In 2015, the Emergency or Grandparent scam claimed hundreds of victims in Canada to the tune of nearly $2.5 million, and the CRA scam bilked 751 victims of a combined $2.49 million.
To avoid becoming a victim, police say you should check with a family member of trusted family friend to verify the information before sending out any money or credit card information.
If you or someone you know has been victimized, contact police, and file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm
“Increasing awareness of the Emergency or CRA fraud scams is the first step toward reducing their devastating impact. Reporting the scam then allows police an opportunity to warn other people and minimize the chances of causing further harm to unsuspecting people.” – Deputy Commissioner F. (Fred) BERTUCCA, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime Command.
“Criminals rely on your natural urges to want to act quickly to help your loved ones in an emergency or respond to a well-respected government agency. Those urges need to be balanced with skepticism and common sense. Check the person’s identity and their story…and never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust.” – Detective Insp. Mike BICKERTON, Director – OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.