The Niagara Regional Police Service is advising the public, and in particular, business owners, to be aware of a recent rash of fraudulent activity targeting local businesses in West Niagara.
According to police, on Monday September 28th 2015 a Grimsby restaurant owner contacted police to report that she received a phone call from an individual representing himself as a claims agent for Grimsby Hydro. The male told the restaurant owner that the business’ account was in arrears and in order to maintain their hydro service they were to immediately send $1500 by way of pre-paid PayPal credit cards by mail to an address in Lincoln. The restaurant owner became suspicious and notified police.
During the subsequent investigation it was revealed that numerous other businesses were contacted by the same individual with the same demand for pre-paid PayPal credit cards, with several complying with the demand.
Police are reminding the public that a legitimate business, bank, or public utility would not contact their customers by phone and demand personal information, or immediate payment for any outstanding amount via pre-paid credit cards. These fraudsters use high pressure tactics to confuse their victims and create an atmosphere of fear and panic.
In the event a call similar to this is received, police are advising the public to obtain as much information as possible about the caller and the organization they purport to represent. Request an extension in order to call back and confirm the information and the authenticity of the caller. Finally, deal directly with the agency face to face, do not provide banking information, or passwords over the phone, or send cash or pre-paid credit cards via the mail or money transferring services.
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