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Police in northern Ontario warns public of trending frauds and scams


The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police is highlighting some recent scams to keep residents up to date on the ways fraudsters are trying to steal their money.

"If you receive any unsolicited communication by any means asking for money to be given or that you won money, be cautious and suspicious," the OPP said in a news release.

"Never give out any personal, credit or banking information to anyone over the phone, by letter, email, fax or any other means of communication. Never provide anyone your social insurance number over the phone."

Scammers usually try to create a crisis atmosphere, police said, to try and pressure victims into complying on the spot.

Some current examples include:

- Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) scam: The CBSA is warning the public about ongoing email, text messages or telephone scams in which people posing as officials from the CBSA are asking for personal information, including SIN. The methods used by the scammers are varied, but always designed to lure the public into providing personal information. Telephone calls may display numbers and employee names that appear to be from the CBSA. Emails may contain CBSA logos, email addresses or employee names and titles to mislead the readers. It is important to note that the CBSA never initiates a request for SIN and credit card number by telephone or email. If an individual receives a telephone call or an email asking for this information, or requesting payments from the CBSA, it is a scam.

- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam: criminals extort money from their victims through a fraudulent communication that claims to be CRA. The communication requests personal information such as a SIN number, credit card number, bank account number or passport number. They make false claims about the victims owing money and they are very aggressive.

- COVID-19 scam: The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received reports of a text message scam tied to COVID-19 vaccines. The text message claims to be from the Ministry of Health and will say that your third COVID-19 vaccine has been scheduled. The fraudulent text message then asks you to click on a malicious link. After clicking on the link, you are asked to download software that contains malware.

Police said legitimate agencies will never ask for payment by Interac e-transfer, online currency such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or pre-paid gift cards. Scammers will often ask victims to purchase large denomination gift cards as a form of payment.

"Awareness is key when it comes to recognizing frauds and scams," OPP community safety officer Phil Young said in the news release.

"There are so many types out there, but the better educated the public are, the less chance they have to fall victim to these ruthless scammers."

Residents are encouraged to ask family or friends before sending any money to anyone.

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

To file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, call 1-888-495-8501. If you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your local police agency. Top Stories

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