The Orillia OPP is warning the public of several frauds that have occurred recently in the City of Orillia and surrounding townships.
On February 13, 2021, a local woman received a phone call from a male who identified himself as an officer with the RCMP. He stating that the woman had been fined for a crime and that if she didn’t pay the fine she would be arrested. The woman was advised to buy gift cards from a local business and provide the card information over the phone which she did.
On February 03, 2021, Orillia OPP received a report that a fraud had occurred, again involving someone posing as an RCMP officer stating that the victim had committed a crime and had been fined. The victim was told to withdraw cash from a bank machine and take it to a Bitcoin machine located in Orillia to complete a transfer. A large quantity of bitcoin was sent to the fraudster as the victim believed that she would be arrested if she did not comply.
On February 04, 2021, officers received information regarding an attempted fraud involving an offer of employment. In this case, the potential victim posted a resume with an online employment company with the expectation that it would be shared with potential employers. A representative of a company did make contact and offered the victim a job to work from home. It appears that the business is a legitimate one but that the “representative” that made contact was not an employee. As a result, information was shared with the “employer” and the first assignment was to transfer funds utilizing a crypto-currency platform. The victim became suspicious and did not complete the requested transaction.
- Tip #1: Legitimate businesses and services do not accept payment by gift cards or crypto-currency (Bitcoin for example). If you are asked to pay by any means other than traditional currency, it is most likely a fraud.
- Tip #2: The police will not contact you to immediately pay a fine. In these cases, the caller can sound very convincing and can be very demanding.
- Tip #3: If you receive an incoming call from what you believe is a legitimate business or service, always verify the organization by calling back on a phone number that you know is valid for that organization. Scammers can “spoof” phone numbers to appear to represent a legitimate business.
On February 04, 2021, officers were notified of a different fraud which utilized an Orillia residential address. In this case, a victim responded to a Kijiji post offering a French Bulldog puppy for sale. The victim e-transferred a percentage of the $3000 fee as a down payment and later arrived at a Cleopatra Court residence to pick up the puppy. Upon arrival, the victim learned that the resident had not posted the ad and that they had been a victim of fraud. The resident also advised that four other individuals had come to the door under the same pretense.
- Tip #3: When responding to online ads, never send money in advance. The best practice is to meet face to face in a safe location and exchange the product for payment in person.
On February 12, 2021, a potential victim contacted the OPP to report an attempted fraud. In this case, the victim was sent a cheque for $1500 with the instructions to send $1000 to an orphanage and that the victim could keep the other $500 for her troubles. The potential victim deposited the cheque into her account but became suspicious and did not forward the requested funds. The bank later advised her that the cheque was fraudulent.
- Tip #4: If receiving funds by cheque, always ensure that your financial institution clears the transaction prior to utilizing the funds.
March is Fraud Prevention Month. This annual campaign seeks to help you recognize, reject and report fraud. For more information regarding current scams and more tips on how to protect yourself from fraud, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm. If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm.