Regional Police are doing their part to fight off fraudsters, and make sure your money stays where it’s supposed to.
Constable Dave Lea with WRPS says they’ve been busy raising awareness as March is Fraud Prevention Month.
He says they’ve received numerous reports of aggressive fake calls, which are essentially a mass-marketing scheme.
“You’re gonna get a phone call from somebody claiming to be of authority – whether it’s with the police, or the CRA. They’ll say you owe money, and if you don’t pay it, you’ll be arrested – and that’s clearly not the case in Canada, as that’s not the way we operate.”
Lea says these scammers are trying to create fear, and prey on vulnerable Canadians.
“Especially with people who may have just immigrated to Canada and may not know our rules – they want to take advantage of somebody that they know is in a vulnerable place, and will pay that money. It doesn’t really matter regarding education level – we’ve seen it all across the board. It comes down to how trusting people are, because without trust – there’s no fraud. We tell people all the time – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems off, it probably is.”
Lea says if anyone ever claims you owe money and need to pay by gift card or cryptocurrency – that should be a red flag.
“If you’re not aware of what the current scams are, you’ll probably fall into one eventually. Fraudsters are also using apps now, and these people are very, very good at what they do. They’re very good at speaking, and they’re very good at finding those vulnerable people and putting pressure on them.”
Romance scams are also one of the most common nowadays, with some local victims losing upwards of $600,000 to strangers promising their hearts.
“We’re transitioning into a world where people do it online – and they don’t necessarily meet in person right away, and have a lot of conversation. Fraudsters are very good at speaking, so they take their time getting to know you and speak about love early in the relationship, and that will transition into some sort of statement – whether they say they’re in hospital, out of country, or whatever .. and eventually, someone starts to send money.”
Scammers can set up fake sites/emails & fake profiles that often include fake pictures. Never send money or give financial information to anyone you don’t know or trust. Ask yourself: Would someone I’ve never met, declare their love for me after only a few exchanges? #romancescam pic.twitter.com/OXrfMH4nn3
— Waterloo Reg. Police (@WRPSToday) March 12, 2018
Lea adds there’s usually an embarrassment factor for victims – so many don’t report they’ve been scammed.
“Looking at numbers from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, they say only 9 per cent of Canadians report it. So that’s why we moved to online reporting, because if we don’t know what the trends are – we can’t battle anything.”
If you want to learn more, WRPS are hosting two fraud information sessions later this month.
“We are going out into the community as much as possible – but next week on March 22nd at 9:30 p.m. we’re doing an information session for businesses and employees to teach them about credit card schemes and counterfeit currency.”
Another information session is planned for March 28 at 1:30 p.m. Both are happening at WRPS Headquarters in Cambridge, and you can learn more by clicking here.