BRANTFORD-City of Brantford police are warning residents to be leary of several ongoing telephone and online scams involving claims the person owes a Canada Revenue Agency debt, or are trying to sell gift cards or trying to involve individuals in online scams.
Some of the scams involve the following:
Automated CRA Phone Calls
Brantford Police Service are aware of ongoing scam phone calls involving persons claiming to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). This scam involves a threat to individuals for payment of a fictitious debt to avoid arrest. The victim is often asked to repay their false debt by wire transfer, cyber-based currency or with the purchase of gift cards.
This scam often involves the use of technology which can cause a phone display to show a local telephone number, or a Brantford Police Service registered phone number. This technique is called “spoofing”. Caller ID spoofing allows fraudsters to disguise their calls and make them appear to represent a legitimate organization. Do not trust what is showing on your phone’s caller ID display. If you suspect a company or government agency is seeking personal information or money fraudulently, contact them directly to verify the validity of the request.
Residents are advised to be cautious of such scams and to be advised that no such calls are being made from any phone number associated with the Brantford Police Service.
Members of the Canadian Revenue Agency will not call you and ask for your banking information while threatening your arrest. The Canadian Revenue Agency does not accept e-transfers or wire payments for any fees or services. The CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers. Any text or instant message claiming to be from the CRA is a scam.
The Canadian Revenue Agency can be reached at 1-800-959-8281, or you can monitor “My Account” online at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html
Gift Card Purchase
Reports have been received where the victim will receive an email from an individual posing as an authority figure requesting the victim to purchase gift cards and provide the activation pins for the cards. The gift cards are requested under the pretense that the victim’s bank account or credit card may have been tampered with and must be verified. Under no circumstances will a financial institution or employer request to verify your accounts in this manner.
Online Buy and Sell Scams
The Brantford Police Service have received reports of online buy and sell scams. In these cases, the buyer responds to an ad posted online for the sale of an item or, occasionally a pet. In cases involving animals, the seller will frequently request that payment be transferred electronically and will often request an e-transfer for a deposit to hold the item or for additional costs to cover items such as shipping or pet insurance. Often the items is never received by the buyer.
Brantford Police Service would like to remind the public to be vigilant while responding to email requests to send money or when shopping online on buy and sell sites for items.
The following safety tips should be considered when making purchases online:
- DO NOT send a deposit or full payment without seeing the item.
- Be sure to verify the legitimacy of the seller
- Make purchases from known breeders or suppliers.
- Trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.
- When in doubt, consult police or someone you trust before sending funds.
From January 1, 2020 to July 1, 2020 Brantford Police Service has received 146 reports of fraud. During the same period last year, BPS received 148 reports.
The Brantford Police Service wish to remind residents of the importance of fraud education and protecting oneself from becoming a victim. Please see below for tips on how to protect yourself from fraud. We also encourage spreading the word to those, such as the elderly, who may be particularly vulnerable to these fraudsters and may be targets of these high-pressure scams.
- DO NOT provide personal information (e.g. Social Insurance Number, passport number, banking information or credit card numbers) over the phone unless you placed the call and you know for certain who you are speaking to.
- Accredited businesses and Government Agencies will never ask for payment using gift cards or bitcoin.
- If you suspect it is a scam, it may be – just hang up. Conduct your own research to determine validity.
- Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email, especially overseas.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Consider adding your phone number to the Nation Do Not Call List: Innte-dncl.gc.ca/index-eng
- Consult with someone you trust before agreeing to provide large sums of money to anyone.
- DO NOT write down passwords and carry them with you.
If you have already sent funds and/or your personal information, contact the police and your financial institution immediately. If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud and reside in the City of Brantford, contact the Brantford Police Service at 519-756-7050. You can also report online at: https://www.brantfordpolice.ca/online-reporting
If you have not experienced a financial loss but have received a fraudulent call, such as the CRA scam, please report the incident by calling the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraud.ca/index-eng.htm