Frauds and Scams
Frauds and Scams come in many forms and from many different sources including by phone, mail, door to door, email, internet, to name a few.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
If you have provided personal information and/or suffered a monetary loss you can report the incident to Kingston Police by calling 613-549-4660 or online via: https://www.kingstonpolice.ca/services/online/crime-report/
If you simply wish to provide information about the fraudulent call, please submit a report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre via: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
COMMON PREVENTION TIPS:
- Do not be pressured into providing any personal information to unsolicited contact from phone calls, text messages, emails, door to door persons, and so on. You have the right to take time to research and confirm validity.
- Be wary of any person, business, or agency contacting you for an “urgent matter”, an "emergency", or a “legal issue”, that immediately requires your information or payment of some sort. Fraudsters are often successful because they create a sense of urgency and get you to react before thinking. Again, you have the right to take time to research and confirm validity.
- Be very cautious of any so-called official person, government agency, business or organization that requests payment in iTunes gift cards or bitcoin. These types of payments are almost always used by fraudsters as they are nearly impossible to trace or recover. No Government or law enforcement agency will ever ask you for payment and/or donations over email.
- If you are contacted by someone seeking a donation for charity and you are unsure if they and/or the charity is legitimate, do not be pressured into making a donation for some “urgent” cause. Legitimate charities in Canada are registered by the Canada Revenue Agency. You can search the Canadian Governments list of charities online at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/charities-listings.html. If the charity is well known, but you are unsure of the person seeking the donation, obtain the charity contact information from the phone book or online and then call to confirm the person is legitimate.
- Do not unconditionally trust Caller ID. Scammers can use Caller ID Spoofing to make their number look like any phone number including Government agencies, police departments, well known businesses, and so on. For more information see: http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/telemarketing/identit.htm
- Be suspicious of door to door persons selling products or services. In Ontario, many products and services cannot be offered or sold at your home unless you initiate the transaction. For more information see our page Door to Door Sales, Services, Charities.
- Remember you can stop any fraud by hanging up, not replying to the email, shutting your door and not providing them with personal information.
- Call Kingston Police or your bank if you have questions or concerns and remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
COMMON FRAUDS AND SCAMS
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre - CAFC (http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on Frauds and Scams. The CAFC is also a very informative resource. If you are suspicious that something/someone might be fraudulent or you just want to learn more, have a look at their pages:
- Common Frauds and Scams http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/index-eng.htm.
- Little Black Book of Scams (easy to read reference tool) http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03074.html
- A few of the most common local frauds and scams:
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam
CRA tax scams are very common and occur all year long, not just at tax time. “The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.” For more information and a short list of warning signs and how to protect yourself, see Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre page on Tax scams.
- The Kijiji Scam
- A seller lists a product for sale on Kijiji, or similar resale website. The victim agrees to buy the product, and money is sent via e-transfer to the seller in advance of receiving anything. We recommend meeting sellers in person in high visibility public areas. The things that are being sold most commonly in these scams are event tickets for concerts, sporting events, and so on…as well as pets for sale.
- Cheque Frauds / Lottery Win Scams
- These scams usually originate as a “lottery” win, or in a secret shopper type scenario. The victim receives a cheque in the mail, which is usually written in their name. The victim is asked to deposit the cheque to their own bank account, and to send the majority of the dollar amount to someone else, usually via wire transfer or Money Gram / Western Union. The fraudster offers to let the victim keep a portion of the cheque for their trouble. Before the cheque is found to be no good, the victim has sent the money and is now on the hook for the full amount.
- These scams often originate as a “lottery” win, or in a secret shopper type scenario.
- Microsoft Scam
- The victim receives an alert on their computer screen saying that their files have been compromised, or their files are at risk. The victim is instructed to call a phone number to have a “Microsoft” technician help. The victim is told to send money for the service, and is usually instructed to allow the suspect remote access to their computer. This poses an additional danger, as the suspect may be able to access files, account names, and/or passwords when they have access to the computer.
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scam
Information on Door to Door Sales, Services and Charities.
Please share this information with family and friends.
Knowledge and caution is the best protection against fraud.