Fraud Prevention Month Crime Stoppers Re-enactment
A Crime Stoppers re-enactment will take place at 10:00 a.m., today, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to raise awareness about three of the most prevalent scams in and around Calgary. As Fraud Prevention Month is wrapping up, this serves as a reminder for citizens to continue to protect their money and personal information throughout the rest of the year.
Three of the most common scams in Calgary include the CRA scam, employment/secret shopper scam and contractor scam. Citizens should be aware that scammers may change some of the details in common scams such as these in an effort to trick their victims.
These types of scams are done via email or telephone calls to the victim’s home phone. During phone solicitations, the offenders demand to stay on the line with the victim, claiming they work for Canada Citizenship and Immigration, or the Canada Revenue Agency. The culprits often make threats that un-paid fees, or taxes, will result in the victim going to jail or being deported if the fees are not paid. The victim is then directed to pay the purported fees through e-transfer, money wire transfer or the purchase of pre-paid gift cards, which they are directed to mail to a specific address.
In the email scam, the victim is provided a fraudulent link to collect an unexpected tax refund. When the victim clicks the illegitimate link, they are asked to provide personal or financial information to verify their identity.
In this scam, a job ad is posted online offering a position with a local company. Once the victim applies for the position they are contacted and told that the company will hire them for a job with more responsibilities than what was initially advertised. The fraudulent employer will then either send a cheque or e-transfer the victim money with instructions to withdraw the money, keep a small percentage and use the money to purchase office equipment or bitcoins. The remainder of the money is to be sent to an identified account or the bitcoins are purchased and sent to the offenders. A short time later the e-transfer or cheque is deemed fraudulent and the victim is out of the entire amount of the money originally forwarded or out the money used to purchase the bitcoins.
The secret shopper scam is a similar version of the employment scam, where the victim is hired to report on the customer service of a specific company. The victim is then sent a fraudulent cheque with instructions to transfer some of the funds to a specific person or place. When the cheque is determined to be fraudulent, the victim is on the hook for the money wired.
Illegitimate contractors solicit victims looking for a contractor for home renovations through door-to-door enquiries, and take deposits before any work is completed. These scammers, who do not possess a Prepaid Contractors Licence issued by Service Alberta, then fail to complete the agreed upon services and the victim is out their deposit.
In Alberta, only contractors with a Prepaid Contracting Licence can accept money before all the work is complete, and can solicit, negotiate or conclude prepaid contracts in person at any place other than the sellers’ place of business.