Beware phone scams, new and old, that could cost you money

Identity scams, such as phishing, extortion and other frauds like the one-ring scam, added up to $99 million lost in 2016, according to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre.
Identity scams, such as phishing, extortion and other frauds like the one-ring scam, added up to $99 million lost in 2016, according to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre.

The dreaded one-ring scam seems to have resurfaced in Canada and police are warning the public again to not fall for it.

Scammers call a cell phone — which displays the phone number — but it only rings once. Being helpful and trusting Canadians, those who are targeted sometimes call back to see who called them.

But then, while you wait, voice-mail music is played. The scam happens when you actually called a pay-per-call number (similar to 1-900 numbers) and your phone is charged for any minutes while waiting on the line.

Identity scams, such as phishing, extortion and other frauds like the one-ring scam, added up to $99 million lost in 2016, according to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre.

Clearly, the fraudsters are constantly evolving their tactics and they are sometimes winning, or at least just enough to continue their nefarious efforts.

Another recent scam in Toronto had victims advised by phony retailers that they were the victim of a credit card fraud. They were told to call the police but their landline calls were actually forwarded to another scammer pretending to be a police officer.

Five victims lost about $5 million on this type of con, where victims were advised to transfer money to another account during the investigation.

Even in hotels, you would think getting a call from the front desk in your room would be safe, but in Deer Lake, N.L., guests were targeted by scammers who told them there was a problem with their credit cards.

It seems the hoodlums had somehow tapped into the internal system, run by Bell Aliant, and bypassed the front desk.

Another scam involved a woman who received a call purportedly from Canada Border Services, saying they have her husband’s phone and he is detained. She was asked to deposit $10,000 into a bitcoin machine, which was then converted into untraceable currency.

 

It’s twist on an old swindle that involves a call from a loved one who had some sort of accident and must wire money to get out of jail. Or just like calls made from Canada Revenue Agency advising potential victims they must pay up their tax bills or risk jail.

The common thing in all of these scams is usually there is some sort of crisis that must be dealt with immediately, bringing pressure and stress bearing down upon the victims.

As well, the callers are told to pay up, or else.

The federal government says on its Protect yourself from fraud web page: “We will not telephone you to collect money or payments. We may sometimes contact clients by telephone to get more information to continue processing an application, or to ask for more documents. We will NEVER ask you for any sort of payment by telephone. We also will not ask you to confirm basic personal information that you already gave us on an application form (for example, your date of birth, passport number, etc.).”
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