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Fraudsters prey on Robinson-Huron Treaty members, offering ‘direct deposit’ of $10B settlement

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Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police has received an alert from the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund about a new fraud targeting its members.

The fraud follows news that a $10 billion settlement is near with members of the treaty in their legal fight with the federal and provincial governments.

Officials with the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) said that beneficiaries have been receiving letters with Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, and RHTLF logos.

“The letters are requesting personal and banking information to confirm the individual's eligibility for settlement funds,” the OPP said in a news release Tuesday.

“The letter promises that money will be sent either by direct deposit or cheque once the information is received.”

The fund and the federal and provincial governments are not at the stage where anyone is receiving a payment, police said. Nor would they ever ask for your financial information via text or email.

"Frauds are always changing as scammers try and take advantage of new people and new situations, but you can help protect yourself by being aware of the tactics they use," OPP Const. John Hill said in the news release.

"Be suspicious. If you feel pressured to give information or money, do not give in. Stop communicating with the person right away and reach out and talk to someone you trust."

Tips to protect yourself against scams:

Do not open email from people you don't know. Try reaching out to the sender directly through their official email or phone number to make sure it is legitimate. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Look at the branding carefully. Scammers tend to use logos, email or postal addresses that are very similar to the real ones. Check carefully to see if there are slight differences in spelling or the logo in order to fool you.

Be careful whenever there is a link. Malicious links can come from your friends and contacts if their accounts have been compromised.

Secure your personal information. Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Insurance Number, account numbers, or passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Resist the pressure to act right away. Scammers often use urgency as a pressure tactic to get your information quickly. Please verify the credibility of an organization before sharing your personal information.

If you think a letter or message is a scam, verify its credibility by contacting your First Nation office or email info@robinsonhurontreaty1850.com.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122, your nearest police authority and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online.

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