Scams and Frauds
Although people of all ages can be the victim of fraud, seniors get targeted more than others. If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please call the Delta Police Department at 604.946.4411.
Signs that something is not right:
• Wire transfer – money transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union, or cryptocurrency, such at Bitcoin is like sending cash. Once the amount is picked up, it’s impossible to get your money back.
• Overpayment – A fraudster may send you a counterfeit cashier’s, personal or corporate account to pay you for an item you are selling, but overpay for the item. You will will be asked to deposit the cheque and wire back the excess money. Once that bank realizes the cheque is fake, you will be on the line for the money withdrawn.
• Spelling mistakes – Be aware of emails, messages or websites that contain misspelled common words.
• Personal information request – Be suspicious of someone who asks for copies of your passport, driver’s licence and social insurance number.
Type of Scams
A scammer contacts an elderly person and pretends to be a grandchild or family member in trouble, and in need to immediate financial assistance. The scammer will typically tell the victim that they have been arrested and need money; have been in an accident and need money for hospital bills; or are having trouble returning home from a foreign country. The grandchild/family member will insist that the victim not contact any relatives. The victim is then asked to use a money service to send money.
In this scam, the scammer will gain the trust of the victim through affection and communicate via phone or email for months to build trust. The scammer will claim to be located in a foreign country, but will want to meet up with the victim in person. The scammers will always have an excuse as to why they cannot have face-to-face interactions. The scammer will tell the victim that they cannot afford to travel and will ask for money to cover the cost of travel.
Also known as ‘phishing scams’, extortion scams involve fraudsters impersonating government officials. Whether by phone or email, the fraudster ‘phishes’ for identification information. An example would be: there is a notification by phone or email from the “CRA” claiming there is a refund pending. The refund can only be given if the personal information requested is received.
The two most reported service scams are antivirus software scams and lower interest rate scams. inn the antivirus software scam, scammer promise to repair your computer over the internet. This involves installing software on your computer by giving the scammer remote access. Malicious software is downloaded onto your computer than captures personal information such as names and passwords, and bank account information.
Internet scams come in many different forms.
Malicious software: Scammers try to install software on your computer to gain access to files and personal data.
Phishing: Scams that trick you into handing over your personal and banking information.
Online auctions and internet shopping: Scammers will contact the victim stating that they are the winner of an auction. Once you have paid, the victim will never hear from them again.
Called the Nigerian scam, 419 fraud, or advance fee fraud, the victim receives an email or letter asking for help to transfer a large amount of money overseas. Often the victim is offered a share of the money if they agree to give the scammer their bank account details. The victim will be asked to pay taxes and fees before they can receive the ‘reward’, but will never be sent any money.
A similar scam to this is when the victim receives an email from a lawyer or bank representative advising that a long-lost relative has passed away and left an inheritance. Again, the scammer gains the victims trust, and convinces the victim to share bank account details. The victim is asked to pay taxes and fees before they receive the inheritance, but will never be sent any money.
Charity scams take advantages of the victims kindness and generosity by asking for donations to a fake charity, or by impersonating a real charity. Scammers will approach the victim in many different ways – in person, over the phone, and through email. Often the scammer will exploit a recent event that has been in the news, or pretend to be from a charity that helps children.
In this scam, the senior victim is advised over the phone or email that they have won a large lottery or sweepstakes, but are required to pay an upfront fee, but no winnings will ever be received.
In this scam, investors are encouraged to pay large membership fees to participate in money-making ventures. Victims are told that the only way to recover money is to get other people to join.
Medical scams offer products and services that promise quick and effective remedies for serious medical conditions.
Tips on prevention of frauds and scams
• Keep all personal documents in a secure place. Do not carry your birth certificate, passport or SIN card in your wallet.
• Never tell another person your OIN or account passwords.
• Shred old bills and statements.
• Police, judges or legal entities will never request that money be sent through money service businesses.
• Do not click on pop-up windows or respond to emails, and open attachments from people you don’t know.
• Never give our your credit card, bank account, or personal information to someone over the phone, at the door, or over the internet unless you know the person or organization you’re dealing with.
• Be suspicious if someone you don’t know asks you to send them money or a cheque, or return money that they ‘accidentally’ sent.
• Legitimate lotteries don’t require you to pay a fee or tax to collect a winning.