The Fraud Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division would like to remind citizens about fraud-related issues, including scams that are making their rounds again this season.
Learning about the most common scams affecting our community will help you become scam savvy and possibly prevent you from being defrauded. Following are the most common scams that police have seen recently: Personal assistant scams / Mystery Shopper scams – the victim is pre-paid by an online employer to conduct business on their behalf. The employee is then advised that one of their job tasks is to wire a portion of the original cheque to a third party. Months later, the employee is advised through their bank that the original cheque was counterfeit thereby leaving the employee on the hook for the monies owed.
Lottery/Loan Scam request fee – the victim is contacted via telephone advising that they won a lottery and in order to claim the prize they must first pay a lottery fee to access their winnings. This scam also applies to loans where an online company indicates that they require an administration fee to be paid prior to issuing the loan.
Computer Virus Scam – the caller, claiming to be with Microsoft, advises that there appears to be a problem with the victim’s computer (i.e. computer is running slow, there is a virus on their computer, etc.) and prompts the victim to allow them remote access to the computer. As a result, the scammer is able to gain access to online banking information through your computer anddrains the victim’s account(s).
Over the last few months, there have been 18 reports of these types of frauds where citizens were defrauded of thousands of dollars. To keep the Grinch from taking advantage of your hard earned money this holiday season, follow some of these fraud savvy tips:
- Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
- Do not give out personal or banking information over the phone or the internet.
- Ensure that all transactions take place locally and in person.
- Always deal with reputable companies
- Report suspicious activity to police
- Verify the authenticity and reputation of the company through the Better Business Bureau
If you have been the victim of a scam, you should report the matter to police by calling the Financial Crime Unit at 902-490-1985 or online at https://www.halifax.ca/police/NonDispatch/index.html