As part of their annual Fraud Prevention Month awareness campaign, the OPP is warning people to find out who they’re dealing with before sending any money anywhere for any reason. The Emergency Scam, and the more recent Canada Revenue Agency scam have been fooling people in bigger numbers the last few years.
In 2016, the Emergency Scam claimed over 470 victims in Canada, and as a result those people lost nearly $2.5 million. The CRA fraud drew got over 750 victims who lost nearly $2.5-million and police admit 95 percent of these crimes go unreported.
The Emergency Scam is when someone calls you claiming to be a grandchild or loved one, and ask for money right away to deal with an emergency. In the CRA scam, the criminals get money claiming to be a CRA agent and asking you for personal information like credit card or social insurance numbers.
The OPP say there are four warning signs that you’re getting scammed:
- Urgency — The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
- Fear — The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.”
- Secrecy — The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad or Mom, they would be so mad.”
- Request for Money Transfer — Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own banking institution.
Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum says criminals rely on people’s natural urge to want to act quickly to help loved ones in an emergency or respond to a respected government agency. Barnum says people need to balance that urge with skepticism and common sense. He finished by saying you should confirm the person’s identity and their story…and never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust.