Scammers continue to 'up their game' by being extremely creative on how to finagle someone out of their hard-earned money. They believe that if they make enough calls there will eventually be that one person who will believe their story of a free cruise, or a 'free' computer upgrade, or ... or ... or....
Over the past several months the RCMP have received several reports from local residents and businesses that have been targeted through pre-paid credit cards and gift cards, either through a phone call, a text message or an email.
Victims are asked to purchase prepaid credit cards / gift cards and then are asked to provide the scammer the codes, where the money is withdrawn from the cards.
RCMP are encouraging business owners to be aware of customers purchasing prepaid cards and/or gift cards who are making a large deposit onto them. Business owners are advised to ask the card purchaser on its intended use. If the purchase is legitimate, then the purchaser shouldn't have a problem with the business owner's request. If there are concerns, then do contact your local police service as soon as possible. Remember, if someone is trying to scam you then they are probably targeting another person or business.
It is worth noting that no government agency, police service or charitable organization will ask for payment in the form of a prepaid credit card or gift card.
If you receive a phone call that is suspicious, or asking for personal information, including banking information, just hang up.
A few tips to reduce unwanted phone calls:
-Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call List at National Do Not Call List - Canada.ca (lnnte-dncl.gc.ca)
-Screen your calls and if it's an unfamiliar number let it go to voicemail. Scammers rarely leave a message
-Be cautious about who you give your phone number to, it could be used for telemarketing purposes
-Find out more about fraudulent phones at the CRTC government website on this subject: Tips to Reduce Unwanted Calls
Do not respond to emails requesting the same type of personal information
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, that you have given remote access to your computer to a suspected scammer, or that your computer has been hacked:
- Alert your financial institution. If you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and let them know.
- Get further assistance. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or call 1-888-495-8501.
- Get qualified computer help. If you have computer problems, seek help or advice from a qualified and reputable computer technician.
- File a complaint. You can report unwanted telemarketing calls at National DNCL or call 1-866-580-DNCL (3625).
- Contact law enforcement. If you think the call might be part of a fraud scheme, contact law enforcement authorities or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly PhoneBusters) or call 1-888-495-8501.
- For more information click here!
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, Discover Westman encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWestman app.