It is a firm reminder to protect personal and financial information after Summerland residents have fallen victim to various scams recently.
“Large amounts of money were lost and it is very unfortunate,” said Sgt. Stephane Lacroix. “These people seem to target the elderly and we are not sure how they know who to choose.”
In one case police said a Summerland resident received a phone call from someone claiming to be in Spain stating someone related to the resident died.
The fraudster said there was a large sum of money left for the Summerland resident and they needed to be sent money to deal with the lawyers and free the inheritance to them.
“We have had a rash of these telephone frauds lately. People need to remember if it is really too good to be true, then it is,” said Lacroix.
In another incident a resident received a call from someone claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency and told they owed a certain amount of money.
This scam has also been seen in the form of emails and letters claiming to be from the CRA.
The scammer asks that in order to receive a refund or benefit payment you must verify your personal information, such as social insurance, credit card, bank account and passport numbers.
“Do not issue any personal information including your date of birth or access to your bank accounts to any stranger. If you feel you are been targeted for a scam contact the RCMP or proper authority to determine if it is legitimate or a scam,” said Lacroix.
Other scams that have circulated the Okanagan include the Microsoft Scam and Scareware. Both of these also are designed to target personal or financial information. The Microsoft Scam consists of a cold-call from a person claiming to represent a well-known brand, such as Microsoft, advising the victim that they have detected a computer problem, infection or virus on their computer. The scam revolves around getting remote access to the victim’s computer in order to demonstrate where the problems are and convince the victim to pay a fee for a service that will fix the computer despite that there is probably nothing really wrong with it. In the process, your credit card information is compromised as well as your computer, which is a potential fountain of information.
Scareware or Ransomware is a pop-up message stating that your computer has been frozen or will be frozen unless you pay. The message is designed to create shock and anxiety so that you will respond by sending money quickly. Your computer will not be unlocked if you pay the money and you will never get your money back.
If you receive an unexpected Interac e-Transfer or there is something not quite right about the message, it is probably a scam and clicking the link could compromise your personal or financial information.
For more information on phishing, frauds and scams, and how to report them, please go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.