Canadian Anti Fraud Raising Awareness Of Extortion Scams

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The OPP Anti-Rackets Branch (ARB) and Serious Fraud Office Ontario (SFO), in concert with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) have provided another awareness newsletter in this annual Fraud Prevention Month campaign. This campaign is held every March to inform and educate the public on the importance of protecting yourself from being a victim of fraud. This year’s theme is impersonation, and focuses on scams where fraudsters will claim to be government officials, critical infrastructure companies, and even law enforcement officials. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre will be sharing advice through our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Extortion scams are the most common type of fraud where impersonation tactics are used. In these scams, consumers and businesses can be contacted via phone, email and/or text message by fraudsters posing as police officers, government agents, bank employees and hydro company officials. Fraudsters may tell you that your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is compromised or linked to criminal activity and will ask for your personal information such as SIN, DOB, name, address and account balances. Fraudsters may call claiming to be Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). They try to make you believe that a package addressed to you was intercepted by Canada Post containing illegal substances. After asking you to dial 1 on the automated phone call, the fraudsters will ask for personal information and will request that you withdraw money and deposit it into a “safe account”.

Warning signs – How to protect yourself

• Fraudsters manipulate caller ID to display phone numbers starting with your area code. They may also display the legitimate phone number of these agencies. This is called “Call-Spoofing” and this technology is easily available

• No government agency will contact you and tell you that your SIN is blocked

• Never provide personal information over the phone to an unknown caller.

• Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on call display are accurate.

• Be wary of automated calls asking you to dial 1 to speak with an officer

• Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway.

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