Telephone scams and frauds on the rise

Cst Ed deJong

Gabriola Island RCMP

Tuesday, March 1 2016

Telephone initiated scams and frauds are on the rise. The Gabriola RCMP continue to receive complaints from residents who are receiving phone calls where the caller is claiming they have won a prize in a lottery or sweepstakes. The caller then tells them all they need to do is pay a fee (brokerage fee, taxes, shipping fees, etc) in order to claim their “prize”. If the person agrees to pay an amount, they are instructed to send the money via Moneygram or similar service to someone in either Canada or the United States. Once the caller receives the money, they will continue to call and come up with other reasons why more money needs to be sent. If the person starts to refuse, the caller will threaten them with arrest, claim to be an FBI agent, police officer, or a member for the IRS or CRA. These phone calls will be relentless and continuous. The RCMP recently became aware of a local resident who became a victim of one of these scams and was defrauded of over $22,000. The investigation revealed the suspects are of Jamaican origin and are using the names and addresses of other victims to have the Moneygram sent to. Once they receive the confirmation number from the victim, the money is collected in Jamaica, and not by the person named on the Moneygram. 

 

The Gabriola RCMP would like to remind residents that at no time would you be required to pay anything up front to claim a prize. If you receive a call that you are concerned might be a scam or fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud agency at 1-888-495-8501. If you have been the victim of fraud and have sent money or provided personal information, please contact the Gabriola Island RCMP at 250-247-8333. 

For more information on how to protect yourself from scams, the Government of Canada has made available “The Little Black Book of Scams” on the Competition Bureau website http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03074.html