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Temiskaming OPP issues scam warning after receiving numerous complaints

'One-ring' phone scam
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Ontario Provincial Police in Temiskaming say they have received numerous calls about attempted fraud cases this month and are reminding residents to be cautious.

In a news release Tuesday, the OPP said it received 16 fraud complaints in January alone.

“The Temiskaming OPP would like to remind the public that there are many schemes being used to defraud the public and businesses,” police said.

“If you receive any unsolicited communication by any means asking for money to be given or that you won money, be cautious and suspicious.”

Protect yourself by never giving out personal information over the phone, police said, including social insurance number, credit card info or any banking information.

“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.

“The scammer may also know limited information about you, such as name, address, and possibly a few numbers of a credit card. They use this information as a way to convince you that they are who they say they are. In reality, they are trying to get you to provide additional personal information.”

Police offered a few examples of current fraud schemes residents should know about:

- Overpayment scam: The scammer agrees to purchase something you are selling online. They send you a bank draft or cheque for more than your asking price. They ask you to deposit the draft or cheque and pay them back the difference. They are hoping you do this before your bank realizes the draft or cheque is fake.

- Crypto scam: The scammer convinces you to open a crypto trading account where they will convince you to deposit a small amount of money. The scammer will then show a fake account indicating large gains on your initial investment and convince you to invest more. The scammer then advises you that you must pay fictional taxes or fees to access the funds. When the victim wants to withdraw the money, the scammer will often vanish. The scammers not only gain access to the victim’s deposited funds but also gains access to your mobile devices and computers to obtain your personal information as a result of downloading the trading app.

- Bank account scam: Text messages and/or emails from financial institutions asking you to click on a link to verify your account information. DO NOT click on the link as it is a scam.

- Romance scam: scammers target vulnerable people who may be lonely and gain trust by creating a fictitious relationship. After a period of time, they request money be sent to them for various reasons; sickness in family and can't afford medication, surgery, airline ticket so you can finally meet, housing/rent money, etc.

“Remember, any legitimate agency will never request a payment by wire transfer, online currency such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or pre-paid gift cards such as Google Play, iTunes, Vanilla,” police said.

“Scammers will ask you to purchase large denomination gift cards as a form of payment. Also, they may ask you to send cash, but hidden inside the pages of a book, then box the book and wrap it in an excessive amount of packing tape.”

If you believe that someone is posing as a fraudster on the phone, hang up and can report it through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

If you are a victim of fraud or a scam, contact your local police agency.

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