(Ottawa) – The Ottawa Police Organized Fraud Unit is warning the community about a recent phone scam that is being reported in Ottawa and across the country.
The fraudulent phone calls are coming to both cell phone and land lines and may display the phone number of a legitimate government agency. The recorded message when the phone is answered claims that it is ‘Service Canada’ calling and that there has been a crime committed with ‘your social insurance number (SIN) and to press “1” to avoid prosecution’.
Police are urging Ottawa residents not to press 1 and to simply hang up. People who have continued with the call have been directed to purchase gift cards or bitcoins in order to avoid prosecution. Financial losses have ranged from $3000 to $15,000.
With regards to this and similar type of calls, police advises that:
- No government agency will demand or accept payment in Bitcoin or gift cards;
- Never give out personal or banking information over the telephone unless you are absolutely sure of who you are giving it to (do not release your PIN to anyone);
- Do not rely on your phone’s call display option to validate who you are actuallyt speaking with, as fraudsters can spoof phone numbers.
With regards to this specific false “Service Canada” calls, police would also like to advise that these are robocalls and that the caller does not know any information about you. They will only know your SIN if you provide it to them. More information is available with Service Canada.
For more information on this and other frauds, please follow @FraudOttawa or visit our website.