The RCMP would like to remind the public to be vigilant when receiving unexpected phone calls, text messages, and emails due to an increase in fraudulent activity.
In early March, Melville RCMP investigated a report of fraud where an individual was contacted through the phone, claiming they had been randomly selected to win a large cash prize and a vehicle.
Some incidences of fraud may include:
- Persons claiming you have won a prize, but needing to be sent an urgent payment for taxes and fees
- Scammers sending multiple emails to convince you they are legitimate – The emails may seem real even if they are not
- Scammers asking you to send gift cards in lieu of payment – It is important to deny their requests
- Scammers trying to convince you that money will be deposited into your bank account, but it will not appear for several days
If you or someone you know have been a victim of fraud, you are not alone. These scams can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. It is important to talk with those you care about, so they know what to do if they receive a similar contact.
In 2021, Melville RCMP received 59 reports of fraudulent activity. These investigations ranged from fake items sold over social media and local buy and sell sites, to scammers claiming to be reputable businesses and Government agencies.
Some steps you can take to protect yourself include:
- Asking yourself or your loved ones if they entered a contest. If the answer is no, chances are high you were not a “randomly selected winner”
- Never give out personal information such as your name, address, Social Insurance Number, or banking information over calls or emails
- If someone is asking you for money, research if they are who they say they are. Always verify the company to check if they are legitimate before taking further action
- When purchasing items from online sellers, make sure to inspect or test the item before you buy. If not possible, ask for more information such as several pictures or receipts
- Don’t be afraid to say no! Do not be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics or requests to send money. Walk away or hang up the phone
- Government agencies will never contact you by the phone to demand immediate payment, especially in the form of gift cards. Always be cautious if you receive communication that requests personal information
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of fraud, report it to your local police detachment. If you receive a phone call or email that you believe to be fraudulent, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can report by phone (Toll free: 1-888-495-85010) or online at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm