"If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!"
Use of the telephone for the sale of a wide range of services or products can be an effective, legitimate marketing tool for any number of Canadian businesses. However, the legitimacy of well-known companies has provided an excellent opportunity for criminals.
Criminals use the same techniques as legitimate companies, but hide behind the anonymity of the telephone and attempt to defraud thousands and thousands of Canadians each year.
The RCMP is involved in a National Task Force known as the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre that was established to combat telemarketing fraud. A few basic suggestions from the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre should help ensure that you do not fall victim to the tactics of fraudulent telemarketers:
- DO NOT believe that everyone calling with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity is trustworthy, especially if you do not know the caller or their company.
- DO NOT invest or purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the investment, product, service, and the company.
- DO NOT be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
- DO NOT be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low cost purchase.
- DO NOT be pressured to send money to take advantage of a "special offer or deal".
- DO NOT be hurried into sending money to claim a prize that is available for only a "few hours".
- DO NOT disclose information about your finances, bank accounts or credit cards (not even the credit card expiry date).
- DO NOT be afraid to hang-up the phone.
- DO contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre if you are contacted by someone who promises you great prizes, but you are required to send money in advance for shipping, handling, taxes, etc.
- DO contact the Canadian Anti fraud-Centre if you are contacted by someone who says that you have won a prize, but you have to purchase a product to qualify.
Please contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre to lodge a complaint or request more information:
- Toll-free telephone: 1-888-495-8501
- Toll-free fax: 1-888-654-9426
- Mail: Box 686, North Bay, Ontario P1B 8J8
Or, contact the Competition Bureau of Industry Canada at:
Strathcona County RCMP Warn Residents Of The Prize Scam
Strathcona County, Alta. – Strathcona County RCMP are warning residents of prize scams where residents are receiving phone calls or emails advising they are the winner of a large lottery or sweepstakes. Often with these prize scams the winner is instructed to pay an upfront fee to cover taxes or legal fees before receiving any winnings.
Recently a local resident became a victim to this prize scam. On March 15, 2019 the victim received a call from a male claiming to be a representative of Publisher’s Clearing House. The male advised that the victim won a significant amount of money but would have to pay taxes on the winnings. The male deposited $9500 of the winnings into the victim’s bank account and instructed the victim to transfer that money to cover the taxes. The victim did so before the deposited money was cleared and therefore sent $9500 of their own money. The investigation into this scam continues.
Be aware of phone calls and emails claiming you have won a lottery or sweepstakes especially if you don’t remember entering one. If you are asked to send a payment of any kind to claim a prize, it is a scam.
Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of a prize scam;
- Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
- Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, no matter who the caller claims to represent.
For more information on scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741
RCMP Warn Residents of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Bitcoin Scam
Strathcona County, Alberta – In the past month Strathcona County RCMP have seen another variation of the commonly known Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam.
Victims are being contacted by phone and told that they have overdue taxes to pay and if they don’t, they will be arrested. In this version, victims have been told to send their money using Bitcoin ATM’s. Victims are told to withdraw cash from their bank account, deposit the cash into a Bitcoin ATM which converts the cash into Bitcoin and then transfer the funds to the caller.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin is a worldwide virtual currency that is not regulated by a central body, which makes it impossible for victims to get their money back once its been deposited into a machine and transferred to a “virtual wallet.”
Police would like to again warn the public about the CRA scam and remind them that the CRA would never ask for payment to be made through gift cards or Bitcoin and would never use the phone as a first point of contact when dealing with clients.
If contacted by the CRA in such a manner, police recommend hanging up the phone, and if in any doubt, to source the true number for the CRA and make your own inquiries about the status of your account. Do not call the caller back on any phone numbers that they themselves have provided you.
For more information on scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741.