Phone scam in High Prairie area, police warn

Chris Clegg

South Peace News

In the past week, fraudulent phone scammers have been calling local High Prairie residents using a technique called spoofing.

High Prairie RCMP S/Sgt. Warren Wright says the scammers use the local 523 or 536 High Prairie prefix phone numbers to fool victims into thinking it is a local caller.

“Then they pose as RCMP, Toronto police or Revenue Canada in order to compromise your personal financial integrity and then sell it to others,” he says.

The scammer usually starts by asking you who they are talking to. If you answer them, they have your name.

“Then they tell you that your Social Insurance Number [SIN] has been used illegally or someone has accessed your banking information,” says Wright.

The scammers claim they are police – they are not – and they want you to confirm your SIN or the last three SIN numbers by reading it to them.

The scammer records the number and says it matches what they have on file.

“They don’t any numbers on file except for the ones you gave them,” says Wright, adding it is never a good idea to give out your SIN.

“They use the same formula to get your banking information, your birthday and your address, all in an effort to steal your identity, sell the information to criminals who will apply for credit under your name and/or access your bank accounts,” says Wright.

Wright offers some advice.

“Please be very wary as the scams vary to them posing as Revenue Canada and demanding immediate payment for back taxes, or the RCMP will send someone over to arrest you immediately.”

He says do not be afraid to say, “No!” and hang up.

“Do not tell them anything about yourself. You worked hard for your money, don’t share it with a stranger posing as an authority figure.”

Following are a few reminders from High Prairie/Faust RCMP:

* If you receive a call from someone claiming you owe money, get as much information from them as possible: their name, agent number, mailing address, phone number, how many people work for the company, how long the company has been in service, who the owner of the company is and any other information that would apply to the matter. Tell them you will call them back.

* Ensure the call has been ended before discussing anything personal with a family member or close friend.

* Do not share any personal information with a caller, such as your legal name, date of birth, social insurance number, address, etc.

Do not provide any form of payment, any personal banking, or credit card details.

* Do not trust any e-mail sent by a caller. Be careful before you click on any links in any e-mail you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.

* Verify who a caller is from a legitimate website. Do not trust the phone numbers provided by a caller. For example, CRA will have the legitimate numbers to call CRA online. This goes for any legitimate businesses as well. Do your research.

* Do not throw mail in the trash with your personal information on it, including simply your name and address. Shred unwanted documents, or store needed documents in a locked and secure place.

* CRA will contact you via your secure account online, which only you should have access. Do not share your passwords with anyone.

* CRA and businesses will not request outstanding monetary payments to be paid via prepaid credit cards, Google Play or I-Tune gift cards, or any other gift card or similar type of payments. These methods are used by the criminal element to hide their activities from police.

* RCMP will not make arrests for overdue CRA fines.

* RCMP will not request payments for any police matter to be paid via prepaid credit cards, Google Play or I-Tune gift cards, any other gift card or similar type of payment.

* RCMP will not take any form of prepaid credit cards, or gift cards for payments in lieu of criminal charges being laid, pending, or as a form of restitution.

For more information on the Top 10 frauds affecting Canadians visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcenter.ca.

If you have been the victim of fraud, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at: www.antifraudcenter.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the High Prairie RCMP at 780-523-3370, or call your local police.

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