No one is immune: Beware of scams – both phone and computer

This week has been quite eventful personally when it comes to scams.

First, I was contacted by phone with a ‘Private Number’ showing on my display.  I picked it up and lo and behold, there was a ‘young man’ crying saying “Hi mom, I am in trouble”.  I said to the voice, “hmmm, how unusual as my son is here with me now”.  Click.

So, there it is – a phone scammer that will likely try someone else, perhaps a grandparent.

Second, I received an ‘urgent’ email from the ‘Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’ – very official looking with a logo and url indicating a Federal government address.  The message was VERY lengthy with lots of links in it saying that I had been compromised on-line.  Rather than click on anything, I forwarded it to the police who replied,

Con artists will often use an established business/branch of the government to gain our trust so they can collect money or personal information.

Unsolicited contact.  Con artists are sending out messages DAILY to commit fraud against hard working people.  Always, verify an unsolicited contact.  It may be a very cleverly disguised con … please delete.”

South Bruce Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is once again asking residents to continue watching out for cons and scams.  There have been FIVE reports of successful scams in December 2023. Successful in that the con artists made money.

Between December 11, 2023, and December 29, 2023, the South Bruce OPP received FIVE reports of Fraud with losses totalling nearly $500,000:

·      Online purchases made through a fraudulent website – $97 USD
·      Two incidents of E-transfer made to help a “grandchild” – $3,000 each time
·      Crypto exchange through a fraudulent site – $140,000 USD
·      Crypto investing through a fraudulent online broker – $338,000

Tech-savvy scammers use technology to create very convincing schemes to trick you into sending them money. They will commonly use the name of a real company to gain your trust so that you will send money or personal information to them.

The South Bruce OPP is offering you some tips to help protect you from a con artist:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
  • Remember that you can’t win a contest that you didn’t enter in the first place.
  • If you have a concern about your computer, take it to a reputable repair shop for service. Do not provide remote access to a “tech” that calls you out of the blue
  • Gift cards are a red flag. If someone contacts you and directs you to buy gift cards, you need to hang up the phone.
  • Your best defence is to verify any unsolicited contact. Unsolicited means that you didn’t ask for it.

Fraud is a multi-million-dollar enterprise that will only end when they stop making money.

Anyone interested in more information on fraud can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501 or check online at