Scammers are constantly looking for new ways to manipulate people and Wood Buffalo RCMP are warning residents to be aware of the signs they’re being scammed.
Police continue to receive calls of suspected fraud from individuals claiming to act on behalf of a government agency, a family member in need, or a credit company to solicit and receive funds.
Common practices used by scammers are to fabricate a sense of urgency or excitement in the victim by claiming they could be arrested, they’ve won something, or that they’re a friend or family member in trouble.
Cst. Karen Brookins, Wood Buffalo RCMP spokesperson commented that scammers like to use gift cards as they’re an easy and fast way to access money from victims.
“In several cases, the scammers will stay on the phone with the victim and ask them to purchase gift cards,” says Brookins. “The victim is then told to scratch the back of the cards in order to reveal a code, which will then be provided to the scammer.”
To ensure you don’t fall prey to any of these scams the RCMP has released the following warning signs to be aware:
- Is someone claiming to be a family member in trouble?
- Are you being asked to purchase large sums of gift cards?
- Is someone claiming to be Canada Revenue?
- Are you being pressured to buy gift cards to pay your taxes?
Brookins clarified that gift cards cannot be used to pay legal fees or taxes.
Wood Buffalo RCMP has received 835 fraud-related complaints since March 1, 2020.
The two most common fraud-related complaints in the area have been:
- Paying for a service upfront/online via e-transfer and the service not being provided/completed
- Fraudulent use of a credit card as a result of losing a wallet or having the card stolen
If you believe you’ve been the victim of any type of financial scam, contact the Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcenter.ca, or by calling 1-888-495-8501.