Telephone scams continue to be a concern for local police services.
In a release about current scams they are aware of, Brantford police said they received 146 reports of fraud in the first six months of this year, on par with the same period in 2019.
Earlier this month a 26-year-old Brantford man said he got a call from someone claiming to be a police officer. Who then threatened him with arrest if an outstanding Canada Revenue Agency debt was not paid. Then they asked for gift cards.
The victim became suspicious after providing the activation codes for $400 worth of Visa gift cards, out of a total of $2,500 gift cards he had been directed to purchase. No legitimate agency will ask for payment via gift cards; as they are untraceable. This does make them a preferred method of payment for scam artists, however.
Police said gift cards are often requested by scammers under the guise that the victim’s credit card or bank account has been compromised.
Brantford Police provided the following tips for avoiding being the victim of a scam:
- DO NOT provide personal information (e.g. Social Insurance Number, passport number, banking information or credit card numbers) over the phone unless you placed the call and you know for certain who you are speaking to.
- Accredited businesses and Government Agencies will never ask for payment using gift cards or bitcoin.
- If you suspect it is a scam, it may be – just hang up. Conduct your own research to determine validity.
- Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email, especially overseas.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Consider adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call List: https://lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/en
- Consult with someone you trust before agreeing to provide large sums of money to anyone.
- DO NOT write down passwords and carry them with you.
If you have already sent funds and/or your personal information, contact the police and your financial institution immediately. If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud and reside in the City of Brantford, contact the Brantford Police Service at 519-756-7050. You can also report online at: https://www.brantfordpolice.ca/online-reporting
If you have not experienced a financial loss but have received a fraudulent call, such as the CRA scam, please report the incident by calling the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or on their website at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm
Source: Brantford Expositor.