Categories
British Columbia RCMP

Raising awareness to help prevent jewelry swindles

A common jewelry scam is making the rounds once again in the Lower Mainland and the BC RCMP is reminding the public to be vigilant and protect themselves from swindlers.

This week the BC RCMP was alerted to incidents which have taken place in a number of detachments in the Lower Mainland including Mission, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Richmond, and Burnaby, where members of the public were defrauded after being approached for financial assistance in parking lots. The BC RCMP is again issuing a warning in the hopes of preventing further victimization. A similar plea was issued earlier this summer following a string of incidents in the southeastern part of the province

In these incidents, the victims were approached by individuals who claimed they were travelers from out of province – and out of money. Under the guise of trying to raise money to return home, they offered to sell their valuable gold jewelry to the victims. The jewelry is offered to the victim at what is purported to be a much lower price than its value. In an effort to help the traveler, the victims bought the jewelry and later discovered they were worthless fakes. The victims in these recent incidents paid $800, and $1000 for what turned out to be costume jewelry.

This scam is successful in part, because it relies on the fact that so many people are willing to help a person they believe is in distress. That is why it’s important that we spread the word about this scam, said Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet, BC RCMP Media Relations Officer. It’s great to help people but be cautious, particularly when someone is offering you a great deal on high valued jewelry. Ask yourself ‘if the jewelry is so valuable, and they need cash, why don’t they pawn it themselves?

For more information on scams and fraud visit our BC RCMP website.

Released by

S/Sgt. Janelle ShoihetSenior Media Relations Officer
BC RCMP Communication Services
bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
14200 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, BC V3T 6P3 – Mailstop #1608
Office: 778-290-4134
Cell: 604-657-5730
Fax: 778-290-6114

Email: janelle.shoihet@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Categories
British Columbia RCMP

Fake gold scam alert

Mounties are warning of a fake gold scam going around in the Southern Interior. 

Scammers approach their victims, often people who are naturally inclined to want to help people in need, at gas stations, grocery stores, shopping malls or plazas. 

The fraudsters then offer to sell them gold jewelry; the transaction is completed but the victim later finds out the gold is fake.

In another case, the scammer asks for money, often claiming to have lost their wallet. They say they need money for hospital bills or to escape an abusive domestic relationship, according to a news release from RCMP. 

“In this scenario, the con artist offers gold jewelry to the victim as collateral. The victim later discovers the gold is not real and does not hear back from the suspect,” police say. 

Scammers are usually both adult males and females; they usually appear South Asian or Middle Eastern, and sometimes claim to be from Dubai or Saudi Arabia. Some travel around in rental vehicles, sometimes with small children. 

“We recognize that many occurrences go unreported, as often times victims are embarrassed to acknowledge that they have fallen for these tactics. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a similar scam, please call your local police,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says in the release.

Between April and December 2019, Southeast District Mounties received 61 reports about the fake gold scam. Residents in the region were conned out of an estimated $15,000.

There weren’t as many incidents in the first part of 2020, likely due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, RCMP say.

However, offenders are on the move again, with reports coming from Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Penticton and the North Okanagan in June and July.

You can see the original Castanet article here

Categories
British Columbia Canada

Identity Fraud on the rise

Identity theft and fraud

Fraud alert!

June 30, 2020: The CAFC is noting an increase in identity fraud reporting. Fraudsters are using personal information about Canadians to apply for government benefits, credit cards, bank accounts, cell phone accounts or even take over social media and email accounts. It is important that Canadians take steps to secure their personal and financial information and know what to do when identity fraud occurs.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft refers to criminals stealing someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. Identity theft can be:

  • unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft
  • more elaborate, such as phishing or database breaches

Computer spywares and viruses also help thieves steal personal information.

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud happens when criminals use stolen personal information. It is often used to commit another crime.

Criminals can use your stolen or reproduced information to:

  • access your computer/email
  • access your bank accounts
  • open new bank accounts
  • transfer bank balances
  • apply for loans and credit cards
  • buy goods and services
  • hide their criminal activities
  • get passports or receive government benefits

Actions you can take to protect yourself

  • be wary of unsolicited e-mails, text messages, telephone calls or mail asking you for personal or financial information
  • check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities
  • shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage
  • retrieve your mail on a regular basis to limit possible mail theft
  • when you move, notify the post office and your relevant financial institutions and service providers

Link to the alert at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/identity-identite-eng.htm?fbclid=IwAR3FRqy57Y8uHNPXer7GcZN2uoDS5u-TM86zt5AS_j8Ea4F1UyRfXtQXJwE

Categories
British Columbia Technology

Credit Card Skimming

Here is an interesting article about the uptick of Credit Card Skimming that’s taking advantage of the rise of online shopping during the global pandemic.  Here are some takeaway points from the article.

Shopping online is convenient but not risk-free. Ultimately, users are the ones who can make savvy choices and avoid many pitfalls. Here are some recommendations:

  • Limit the number of times you have to manually enter your credit card data. Rely on platforms where that information is already stored in your account or use one-time payment options.
  • Check if the online store displays properly in your browser, without any errors or certain red flags indicating that it has been neglected.
  • Do not take trust seals or other indicators of confidence at face value. Because a site displays a logo saying it’s 100% safe does not mean it actually is.
  • If you are unsure about a site, you can use certain tools to scan it for malware or to see if it’s already on a blacklist.
  • More advanced users may want to examine a site’s source code using Developer Tools for instance, which as a side effect may turn off a skimmer noticing it is being checked.

To read more about the article from Malwarebytes, click on the link here

Categories
British Columbia

34 percent of Canadians have fallen victim to fraud

The Chartered Professional Accounts of Canada has published a new survey that shows 34 percent of Canadians have fallen victim to fraud. We encourage you to read the article, but in summary, here are a few tips on how you can prevent yourself from being a victim of fraud from the article.

1) Create Better Passwords and don’t use an easy to guess password for your accounts.

2) Review your transactions from your bank of financial institution every month. If you see something suspicious, then report it

3) Shred Personal documents – Don’t toss personal documents into your recycling before shredding it. The West Kelowna Community Policing Society has a Shredding Event scheduled for May 2nd 2019, if you need to dispose personal documents. You can view the event here

4) Always keep an eye on your Credit Score. There are several companies that offer the service (TransUnion for example) along with Canada’s major banks.

5) Screen your calls. If you don’t recognize the caller, don’t answer the phone or respond to the text.

Categories
British Columbia

COVID-19 Scams

The Better Business Bureau has released some great information about the effects of COVID-19 along with scams that are starting to happen.

https://www.bbb.org/council/coronavirus/

We are also hearing about scam callers that are taking advantage of the situation. For more information on scam callers, please review our post on Phone Fraud

Categories
British Columbia

Know the Signs

The age old saying “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is” still applies today. No matter how sneaky fraudsters try to be, by keeping this in mind, you stand a better chance of warding off the bad guys. The best things in life may be free, but when you are asked for your credit card or personal information, it’s best to just leave it be. Beyond trusting your best instincts:

  • Review all fine print and terms and conditions before making a purchase.
  • Conduct open source searches to see if anybody has suggested the offer is a scam.
  • Beware of paid advertisements online. Paid banner ads are not always affiliated with the website you are viewing.
  • Prior to sending any funds or product, contact the person who requested the transfer in person or by telephone to confirm that the request is legitimate.
  • Beware of unusual or irregular email requests.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Review credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges.
  • And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Categories
British Columbia

Keep your Credit Cards Safe

In today’s information age, your credit card information is at risk for theft.

Fortunately, you can try to avoid credit card fraud by keeping your credit card information extra safe.

Always be on guard for scammers who may try to trick you into giving up your credit card details.

Please Keep Your Credit Cards Safe.

One of the simplest ways to avoid credit card fraud is by keeping your credit cards safe from thieves.

Place your credit cards in a purse or wallet close to your body where it can’t easily be snatched away.

If you’re shopping in a high traffic area, carry a smaller purse because it’s harder to steal or sneak into.

For both men and women, carry only the one or two credit and debit cards you’ll be using that day.

Leave all your other credit cards at home.

Thieves can take pictures of your credit card with a camera or cell phone, so don’t leave your credit card exposed any longer than necessary.

After you make a purchase put your credit card away immediately.

Confirm you have your credit card back in your possession before you leave the store or restaurant.

Categories
British Columbia

CRA Phone Scam

Scammers posing as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees continue to contact Canadians, misleading them into paying false debt.

These persistent scammers have created fear among people who now automatically assume that any communication from someone representing the CRA is not genuine.

If you receive a phone call from a person claiming to be from the CRA please remember they will never ask for,

  •  Personal information about your passport, health card or drivers license.Demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others
  • use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police
  •  leave voicemails that are threatening

Make sure the caller is a CRA employee before you give any information over the phone,

  • Ask for or make a note of the callers name, work section and office location and tell them that you want to first verify their identity.
  • You can then check that the employee calling you about your taxes works for the CRA or that the CRA did contact you by calling 1-800-959-8281 for individual or 1-800959-5525 for businesses.

To report a CRA scam you can go online and report at antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

( above information taken from Government of Canada online site )

If you think you may be the victim of fraud or you unknowingly provided personal or financial information, please contact your local police service and financial institution.

Categories
British Columbia

Sim-Swap Scam

The Sim-Swap Scam is on the rise in Canada. TELUS has a post that covers the scam in detail.

Some takeaway points to be aware of, to prevent yourself in being a victim of this scam

  • Guard your phone and number. Have a password set on your phone to lock the phone when its not in use, and avoid sharing out your phone number
  • Use Strong Passwords for your online bank accounts. Don’t use a single password thats easy to guess for all your accounts.
  • Set up accounts using Multi-Factor-Authentication and avoid using a text based Two-Step-Authentication
  • Watch out incase your phone stops working, or if you get a text from your provider that your number is being changed to another provider.

If you have fallen victim to this scam. Please reach out to your local RCMP detachment, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501