Scammers often prey on the trusting and vulnerable in our communities and Niagara Regional Police are highlighting some of the latest scams in an effort to prevent future victimization.
Police say scammers try to find victims over the phone, internet, emails and texts so be on the alert.
Covid-19 Scams – The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center has released information on several new Covid-19 Scams being seen across Canada.
a) Spoofed government, healthcare or research information calls are reported being received by individuals. Some receive emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or are regarding government assistance and compensation .
Remember if any suspicious activity described above occurs:
- If you didn’t initiate contact, you don’t know who you’re communicating with
- Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
- Never give out your personal or financial details
- Be careful of clicking links in emails or text messages
b) Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research
- Don’t be pressured into making a donation
- Verify that a charity is registered
c) High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
- These items may be expired and/or dangerous to your health
- Questionable offers, such as: miracle cures, herbal remedies, vaccinations, faster testing
d) Fake and deceptive online ads, including:
- cleaning products
- hand sanitizers
- other items in high demand
Other ongoing scams police want you to know about include:
CEO Scam – Fraudsters will impersonate a senior company executive, either by gaining access to their email address or by imitating one. They will send realistic-looking emails that try to trick you into wiring money or gift cards to a third party. The emails will make the request sound urgent and confidential. For example, they may say the money is needed to secure an important deal. If you get an unusual request for money transfers or gift cards always check the senders email address and confirm with a telephone call.
Phishing Emails – Phishing is when you get an unsolicited email that claims to be from a legitimate organization, such as financial institutions, businesses or government agencies. Scammers ask you to provide or verify, either via email or by clicking on a web link, personal or financial information, like your credit card number, passwords and social insurance number. Smishing is the same thing, except it occurs via text messages.
Romance Scam – Scammers are notorious for creating fictitious profiles on dating sites or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. They then make up a story and ask for money.
They’ll often say they’re living or traveling outside of the United States. Police say they’ve heard about scammers who say they are: working on an oil rig, in the military, a doctor with an international organization. They will ask for money to pay for a plane ticket or other travel expenses, pay for surgery or other medical expenses, pay customs fees to retrieve something, pay off gambling debts, or pay for a visa or other official travel documents.
Vehicle Sales On-Line Scam – Scammers are posing as legitimate purchasers of used vehicle sales. They contact you as a result of you placing your used vehicle for sale on a web based marketplace site. The scammers are savvy enough not to contact you via the on-line goods and services marketplace website, rather move to calling or texting your cellphone. They then propose meeting at a venue that has quick access to the roadway. They arrive ahead of you usually driven to the location by an accomplice who subsequently disappears. Upon your arrival the scammer convinces you it is safer for them to test drive the vehicle due to the pandemic. The seller agrees, the vehicle is driven away never to be seen again.
Utility / Business Spoofing Scam - Fraud Scammers will impersonate legitimate and trusted sources. Spoofing is a scam related to emails, text messages, phone calls and websites. Scammers use spoofing to access a person’s personal information and to sometimes spread malware and spyware. In essence these attacks can lead to data breaches and financial loss to the victim. They can also result in a loss of revenue to those individuals and commercial entities that have been deemed as secondary victims/targets when they are impersonated. It can affect a business’ reputation in the community.
You should be on the lookout for poor spelling, inconsistent grammar and unusual sentence structure. Don’t click on unfamiliar links or attachments. Don’t take phone calls you don’t recognize even if the phone number looks legitimate. Call the utility / business yourself to learn if what your observing is legitimate. Be wary when the spoofer scammer indicates / threatens you will lose a service if you don’t pay immediately by cryptocurrency, money transfer or credit card.
The NRPS has received spoofing scam complaints involving local utilities (eg. Niagara Peninsula Energy), financial institutions, online media streaming services and third party payment mediums. These service providers do not normally contact customers by electronic messaging or phone. If you receive a something suspicious, stop, don’t panic and conduct your own investigation.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK THERE IS A SCAM
If you believe you have received a fraudulent email text message or scam and sustained no loss you can report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud, contact your local police service.
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