Fraud Unit warning residents to be vigilant
The Ottawa Police Service Organized Fraud Unit is advising the public to be extra vigilant when receiving phone calls from persons identifying themselves as an employee of any Canadian Government Agency.
The caller, or sometimes a recording, tells the person that they owe money in taxes, that they are involved in money laundering, drug trafficking and that there is an arrest warrant issued in their name. Further, that if they do not pay up, an officer will come and arrest them.
Government Agencies will NOT ask for money over the phone, for credit card numbers or for prepaid cards as payment. They will not threaten to send an officer to your door to arrest you either.
Demands of payment are often asked to be made by way of deposits into a Bitcoin machine. Bitcoin is a worldwide virtual currency and digital payment system. It is unregulated, untraceable, and therefore impossible to recover money lost.
Scams often originate outside of Canada despite a call display seeming local. Organized fraud scammers are skilled at covering their tracks and can disguise their contact numbers and computer Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. “For these reasons it is nearly impossible for police to resolve these complaints” said Sergeant Arsenault of the Organized Fraud Unit, “prevention is key”.
Sergeant Arsenault suggests these safety tips:
- Don’t give personal or financial information out over the phone or via the computer to unknown sources;
- Ask the caller for their name, phone number and the company they work for so you can verify their identity;
- Speak to a trusted friend or family member to get a second opinion;
- Familiarize yourself with common scams and how they work;
- For more tips, Click here.
Reports of Fraud can be made by calling the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300 or online.