Investigators in the Financial Crime Unit of the Integrated Criminal Investigative Division are warning citizens about a three recent scams.
Within the last couple of weeks police received two reports from people who were contacted by e-mail by someone claiming to be from the police department, advising them that they have an overdue traffic ticket. The sender asks for the person to appear in a Provincial Court office and provides a link to click to view the ticket. These e-mails are not legitimate. If you receive one, don’t open any links as this could compromise your computer. Police don’t send e-mails regarding overdue traffic tickets.
Another scam we continue to receive reports on involves a person contacted by someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House who is calling to advise them that they have won a large sum of money in a recent sweepstakes. The caller asks for banking information so that they can deposit the money directly into the prize winner’s bank account. These calls aren’t legitimate and you should never provide your financial information over the phone without verify the legitimacy of the caller.
The third scam is a romance scam. Romance scammers are looking for money and they play on their victim’s emotions to get it. The scammers develop a relationship with their victim, sometimes over an extended period of time, and wait until they’ve gained the victim’s trust before making their move. They use a number of different approaches but the most common include asking the victim to cash a cheque for them, requesting the victim’s financial assistance with an emergency, or promising to meet the victim in person if they provide money for travel expenses. The best defence against a romance scammer is to trust your instincts. If you meet someone online and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Currently, police are aware of one person who has been defrauded of thousands of dollars by this scam.
Investigators remind citizens to be suspicious of anyone asking for financial information by e-mail or over the phone. Refrain from providing personal information, whether the solicitation occurs by telephone, email or in person, unless you have initiated the contact or you are certain of the identification of the person and the legitimacy of the organization they claim to represent. Providing personal information such as your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and date of birth could lead to identity theft.
If you’ve lost money or provided personal information as a result of these or any other scam, please report the matter to your local police agency. There is no need to call police to report that you’ve been contacted in relation to these scams if you’re not a victim. You can report a scam where you haven’t been a victim to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
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