Calgary Police Service warns citizens about emerging phone scams
The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is warning citizens of two emerging phone scams, the SIN Scam and the spoofing of the CPS non-emergency phone number 403-266-1234. In each scam, fraudsters try to obtain personal and financial information from victims while posing as police or government agencies.
In the case of “SIN scam,” fraudsters posing as law enforcement or government agents call citizens claiming the citizen has not paid their taxes, or that their Social Insurance Number has been compromised. The citizen is asked to provide personal information in order to “verify” their identity, which allows for the fraudsters to commit identity theft. Citizens are also asked to pay a fine, usually through purchasing pre-paid gift cards. If the citizen refuses, they are threatened with arrest or deportation.
Non-emergency phone number spoofing
Likewise, scammers have started spoofing the CPS non-emergency phone number. Fraudsters posing as representatives from Calgary Police Service call citizens, with the caller ID displaying 403-266-1234. The call usually rings once and hangs up, piquing the recipient’s curiosity to call the non-emergency number back. This has created an influx of calls to Calgary 9-1-1’s call centre.
In reality, the CPS non-emergency number will never show up on a call display, even if the call originates from Calgary Police Service. The call display will show “Blocked.”
So far in 2019, CPS has received hundreds of reports of phone scams, with these two scams being the newest emerging trend.
How to spot a scam
The CPS Economic Crime Unit reminds citizens that any legitimate government or police organization will never threaten an arrest or demand a payment via phone. In Canada, these agencies do not process payment in cryptocurrency, gift cards or any other alternative payment method such as GooglePlay card, iTunes card and Steam card.
What to do
- If you receive a SIN Scam call, or a call that appears to be from the CPS non-emergency phone number, do not answer it. If you do happen to answer, hang up. Do not call the number back.
- Do not provide any personal information or money to an unknown caller.
- Victims who have lost money or surrendered any personal information are encouraged to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number 403-266-1234 or report the incident to a CPS district office.
- Citizens who receive scam phone calls but do not provide personal information or any form of monetary payment can still report the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.