The Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) continues to receive numerous reports from community members who have fallen victim to phone scams. Fraudsters will often represent themselves as police officers or as employees of Revenue Canada and the calls can either be a real voice or a recording prompting you to press a number to connect with an agent. Notable recent scams include;
The scammer will pose as a police officer who claims the victim’s SIN has been compromised and used in fraudulent activity. The individual called is asked to confirm their SIN and other personal information. The scammer then tells the victim that they owe money and must pay in Bitcoin or else the officer will arrest the victim. Victims are instructed to withdraw money from their bank account and deposit into a local bitcoin machine or requested to purchase google play cards, scratch the code on the back and provide that to the scammer.
The MHPS reminds citizens to always be wary of phone calls from anyone claiming you are under investigation, or that your personal information has been compromised, that there is a warrant for your arrest or that you owe money for some other purpose, especially from callers who are aggressive in demanding money.
As a reminder, no police agency or Revenue Canada employee will ever demand you pay money through bitcoin, Google Play cards or request that you send cash money in the mail.
Bank Investigator Scam
Common with this fraud is a scammer will call to ask for help to catch a bank employee who has been stealing money. To help, the person needs to go to their bank and make a cash withdrawal from their account.
The scammer tells the person not to let the bank teller know what you're doing because the teller might be involved.
After the withdrawal, the scammer meets the individual in a nearby parking lot, where the cash is exchanged.
The MHPS reminds citizens that banks will never have a customer withdraw money from their account to try and help catch a bank employee.
With this scam, the scammer calls and claims to be with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada). They tell the person that they've failed to complete or register certain immigration documents. They insist that the individual needs to pay fees immediately or risk:
- loss of passport
- loss of citizenship
Taxpayer or Canada Revenue Agency
This common scam involves a scammer who claims to be an employee of either the Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada. They state that the person:
- owe back taxes
- have unpaid balances; or
- has committed a financial crime
They insist that if the money is not paid immediately, the person will be arrested, fined or even deported.
The scammers sometimes request payment via money service businesses, pre‐paid cards/gift cards (iTunes, Google Play or Steam cards) or Bitcoin.
How to protect yourself
Don’t be the victim of a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These scams can result in:
- identity theft
- loss of cash monies
- theft from your bank account or credit card and
- computer viruses
- Canada Revenue Services or Bank employees will never:
- Telephone you to collect money or payments
- ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account
- ask you to transfer money through private money transfer service such as Bitcoin, ITune cards or Google Play Cards
- threaten you
- offer special deals to people who want to immigrate or
Don't be a victim of phone fraud
These tips will help keep you from getting victimized by telemarketing scammers:
- Don't believe everyone who calls with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity.
- Don't disclose personal information about yourself, your bank accounts, credit cards or address over the telephone.
- Don't be afraid to hang up.
- Don't be afraid to ask for documentation to verify a product or investment. But remember, even the unscrupulous have professionally prepared literature, catalogues and invoices.
- Don't be pressured into making a decision. Any legitimate gift or prize will still be available tomorrow.
- Do take the time to call a friend, relative, banker or a police agency before making a decision to send money.
- Do take the opportunity to ask the caller questions about their offer or promotion. No legitimate company will refuse your inquiries.
- Do ask for literature so you can read about the company before making a commitment.
- Do ask the company for references from other customers who live in your area.
If you receive a call and are unsure of its
legitimacy please call the MHPS at 403 529-8457 to speak with an officer. If you have received a fraudulent call but
are not a victim, there is no need to call police but you may report to the
Anti Fraud Centre here