A phone phishing scam is making the rounds in the North Okanagan, and police are urging the public to safeguard their personal information.
A phishing scam is a tactic used by scammers to trick people into giving up sensitive personal or financial information. Typically, unsuspecting victims are lured with an offer of money, a refund, or a prize of some sort through a phone call, email or text message.
The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP says residents have recently reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be from Telus offering them a good deal on a phone, internet and TV service. The catch comes when the scammer tells the victim that in order to receive the offer, they need to provide their social insurance number, driver’s licence number and date of birth.
“Phishing scams like this are unfortunately quite common,” said media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski in a media release Friday. “It should be a huge red flag anytime you receive a cold call, or an unsolicited email or text offering you money or asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate organizations will never ask for bank account numbers, driver’s license numbers, or SIN numbers over the phone.
“Be very careful with any callback numbers the person gives you; they’re probably fake. If you suspect the person you are speaking to is not legitimate, hang up and call back using publicly accessible numbers. Scammers aren’t going away, but there are things you can do to stay head of them and keep from becoming a victim.”
RCMP offer the following tips to recognize, reject and report fraud:
• Be wary of anyone offering money, prizes, or deals through unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages;
• Never assume the caller is who they say they are simply because they have some basic info such as your address or your birth date;
• If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you are talking to;
• Never give out any personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers;
If you have been the victim of a scam and have either lost money or provided personal or financial information, report it to police. If you haven’t lost money or provided any information, you can report the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 888-495-8501.