It's safe to say that most people know not to wire any self-proclaimed Nigerian princes any cash. But there are far more ways for you and your money to be separated when it comes to online and phone call scams.
The latest scam that's in vogue right now involves the scammer posing as an RCMP officer and requesting large sums of money to bail out a grandchild or loved one. From there the scammer tells the victim to meet them in person to deliver the money or mail it to a previously disclosed address. Keep in mind the RCMP will not attend any residence to collect bail money. Bail money can only be paid at a courthouse or your local police station.
These scammers often target vulnerable groups like seniors and use pressure and scare tactics to cloud rational thinking and make you ignore any alarm bells that may be going off in your head.
Here are some tips from the Strathmore RCMP to keep in mind when you suspect you may be talking to a scammer.
- Never give out any personal information: This one may seem obvious, but being in a high-pressure situation or fearing for a loved one's wellbeing can cloud even the soundest judgement. If you think you are being targeted avoid giving out info like your name, address, birth date, Social Insurance Number, credit card or banking information, and other personal family details.
- Don’t send any money to anyone you don't know: Depositing large sums of money is in most cases, done in person or with a trusted representative. If you don't know or haven’t met whom you are talking to over the phone, avoid sending them any money like it's the plague
- If you receive a call from someone claiming they are with the RCMP, get as much information on the person you are speaking to as possible and tell them you will call them back. Then call the department the person mentioned over the phone to confirm their identity.
- Be careful about what you share on social media: Scammers use the littlest of details to convince you they are legitimate. For example: if your Facebook has info on the town you live in, the names of family members, or locations you regularly visit and groups you attend a scammer can use that seemingly innocuous information to form a plan to pressure and prod you into sending them money.
- Do your research: in 2021 more than 5.8 billion dollars was lost to scams both big and small. The scam economy is constantly churning out new tactics and ideas to trick you into contributing to it. Keep up to date on newly developed scams that are used to separate you from your hard-earned money, so that you can identify them when you see or hear them.
However, some of the best advice is to remember the age-old adage “trust your gut” and “if it's too good to be true, it usually is”
If you are unsure of whether or not you are being targeted by a scam, visit the Government of Canada’s website to learn about common scam types. If you have been the victim of a fraud, report it to your local law enforcement and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcenter.ca, or by calling: 1-888-495-8501.