Police have revealed three popular scams in the area and how to avoid them.
With fraud prevention month wrapping up, the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP wanted to provide the public with tips to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
“In the community of Fort Saskatchewan a few of these scams we’ve noticed that have directly impacted us are the CRA tax scam, the mystery shopper scam and one of the phishing scams,” said Constable Hayley Townsend.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) tax scam sees victims contacted by phone and told they have overdue taxes to pay. The suspects use high pressure tactics or even threaten the victim with an arrest if the amount owed is not paid instantly. Suspects will also leave a voice message telling the victim to call them back at a non-government number while claiming to be a CRA agent.
“The police will never arrest for any outstanding CRA fines, so if you receive any phone calls from somebody using high pressure tactics just hang up the phone and don’t give them any information with regards to any emails or unsolicited text messages,” said Townsend.
The mystery shopper scam is often carried out via text message or email telling the victim they have been selected to be a mystery shopper. Victims who reply to the email saying they are interested receive a cheque in the mail with instructions to attend various businesses, complete transactions and rate service.
Then they are told to deposit the cheque into their bank account, keeping a portion as their commission and then are asked to deposit the remaining money at another bank into a specific account provided.
“These are people trying to get your personal information and weasel their way into obtaining that. Don’t disclose any of your personal information to any businesses that can’t prove they’re legitimate,” noted Townsend.
Be cautious of company’s using a web based email address to conduct business and if you get a cheque or money deposited into your account after completing a job, let your bank know immediately. Also, if a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Phishing scam is when suspects create emails, texts and websites to look like a well known and trusted business, financial institution and government agencies, to try to get access to your personal information.
“Be really careful when clicking on attachments or links when you receive emails especially if you don’t know the sender as they can contain viruses and be an attempt to breach your personal information."
Other tips include shredding unwanted bank documents, do not leave personal information in your vehicle, look for misspelled words, formatting issues and if in doubt, contact the RCMP.