Surrey RCMP News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Title: Let’s talk about Fraud!
Male meets female online. Friendly conversations ensue. Female asks male to help handle her father’s estate. Cheque is mailed, cheque is cashed, cheque determined fraudulent. Female’s online profile is gone. Male out $9,000.
Sports fan buys tickets on Craigslist. Tickets turn out fraudulent. Sports fan is out $350.
Female receives text message about lottery winnings. Cheque arrives, cheque is deposited with some funds transferred back for “insurance” purposes. Cheque later determined to be fraudulent. Female out $900.
The Surrey RCMP’s Operational Communications Centre receives hundreds of these types of fraud complaints each year.
“It’s heartbreaking,” says Operational Communications Centre Manager Lindsay Scott. “Fraud is so prevalent, it seems everyone you talk to has a story to tell about someone trying to defraud them out of their money.”
With March being Fraud Prevention Month, the Surrey RCMP’s Economic Crime Unit is reminding residents about some common scams and how to protect yourself.
Even police officers have stories
One Surrey RCMP officer describes how his grandmother was scammed by the “grandparent scam”. This scam involves someone on the phone pretending to be a grandchild in trouble and needing money to get out of a jam.
“She’s on a fixed income and lives by herself so $500 was a lot,” says the officer. “She is still so embarrassed by it that she refuses to report it. Her grandchildren aren’t the type to get into trouble, so one would think that she would be wise to this ruse, but it goes to show you that anyone can be a victim.”
Can You Hear Me?
A new scam that the Surrey RCMP’s Economic Crime Unit is warning people about is the “Can You Hear Me?” scam. It has been widely reported on in the United States and is now making its way up to Canada. It essentially involves phone calls being made by scammers asking the victim “can you hear me?” When the victim says “Yes”, the fraudster records it and then uses your affirmative response to purchase and sign up the victim to various consumer goods and services that they didn’t agree to.
Don’t get “over-taxed”
Tax season is just around the corner and police warn that they’re expecting more fraudulent Canada Revenue Agency phone scams.
“While people may have become more educated due to the sheer volume of this type of fraud last year, there’s a strong possibility that it will pop up again and catch people off guard,” says Surrey RCMP Constable Brad Edwards of the Economic Crime Unit.
Show me the money!
Tax time is also when business owners, especially small business owners, rely on their in-house bookkeepers to ensure their books are balanced. Sometimes, however, employers may not realize that they have been the victim of internal fraud before it’s too late. Surrey RCMP has received calls from business owners who have stumbled upon irregularities in their banking records only to realize fraudulent activity by those they have entrusted with their finances. It serves as another reminder about ensuring internal fraud safeguards and best practices are in place.
The postman always rings twice
One of the easiest ways for fraudsters to gain access to your personal information is by stealing your identity. Over the past two months, the Surrey RCMP has seen a slight rise in theft from communal mailboxes at townhouses and apartment complexes. While officers have made some recent arrests of prolific property crime offenders, public vigilance is key in preventing this type of theft – keep your eye out for anyone suspicious.
What can you do?
“Check your mail regularly, be diligent in checking your credit card statements and tracking online purchases, and if it’s too good to be true it probably is,” says Cst. Edwards. “Use only reliable online sources and contact the company directly if you’re still unsure. Always protect sensitive financial information. If you don’t recognize the phone number, don’t answer it. They can always leave a message. And don’t forget to report all frauds to the police!”
For more information on scam and fraud prevention please visit the Surrey RCMP’s website. If you are a victim of fraud, please contact your local police and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online.
Committed to serving the Community
Your Surrey RCMP is committed to providing a sensitive, responsive, professional policing service for all Surrey communities. For more information about Surrey RCMP Programs & Services, how to Protect Yourself, or our latest News Releases visit www.surrey.rcmp.ca.
For media inquiries contact:
Cpl. Scotty Schumann
Media Relations Officer
Surrey RCMP Media Relations Unit