There has been a surge in online fraud attempts in the Elliot Lake area, Ontario Provincial Police said Thursday.

The general rule is to never click on links sent by someone you don’t know, particularly when immediate action is being demanded.

“There has been a significant increase in unwanted texts and phone calls from scammers,” the OPP said in a news release.

“A text example may read something along the lines of, ‘Fraud Alert! Unauthorized transactions on your credit card. Click here to view the details.’ Do NOT ever click on a link that is provided!”

Phone call scams alert you to phony credit card charges and try to get you to connect with an operator.

A phone call scam will start out with an automated recording, stating that "there have been unauthorized charges on your credit card for two specified amounts. Press 1 if you authorized these, press 2 if you did not and speak to an agent."

No matter what you press, your call will be transferred to a scammer, police said.

“Any legitimate agency will never request a payment by pre-paid gift cards such as Google Play, iTunes, Vanilla, etc.,” police said.

“Also, they will never ask you to verify credit card numbers over the phone. And, only scammers will ask you to purchase large denomination gift cards as form of payment.”

In essence, any unsolicited request for money is almost certainly a scam. Anyone who asks for credit card or other personal information like your social insurance number is likely setting you up for identity fraud.

“Often, the victims are presented with a situation that is either very serious and/or needs immediate attention and they feel pressured to provide the information requested on the spot,” police said.

“This is a tactic frequently used in the scams.”

OPP community safety officer Const. Phil Young said in the release that being aware of the tactics scammers use is key in preventing fraud.

“The better educated the public (is), the less chance they have to fall victim to these ruthless scammers,” Young said.

“Don't keep it a secret -- talk to a friend, family member, neighbour, or police before making any decisions to send money to people you don't know."

o    Download our app to get local alerts on your device

o    Get the latest local updates right to your inbox

If you believe that someone is posing as a fraudster on the phone, just hang up.

Also, you can report it through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you are a victim of fraud or scam, contact your local police agency.