Police warning residents about new phone scams that are making the rounds

The Durham Regional Police have sent out a warning to residents regarding three new scam techniques that are being used by phone fraudsters.

“Members of our Fraud Unit have identified several new frauds that are becoming common across Durham Region. Unfortunately, fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to scam money or property from the public and residents are asked to be vigilant,” a press release reads.

They include:

Landline Phone Scam
A scammer calls a landline home phone and begins a regular phone scam such as Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Microsoft or bank managers. The complainant knows it’s a scam and hangs up. The complainant then goes online and looks up the number for CRA or their bank in order to be sure they are correct in assuming it’s a scam. When they pick up the phone to call back, they immediately dial, however, the scammer has not yet hung up and the line is still engaged. The scammer then pretends to be the correct person for the number the complainant called, and they now think the scam is legitimate.

“This may seem impossible, but unfortunately it does work. Our Fraud Unit is happy to hear people are wise to their scams and hanging up but would like to ask them to make sure the call is fully disengaged. Be sure there is a dial tone before making that call to check, or use a cell phone as scammers cannot do this scam on a cell phone,” police said.

Water Service Inspection Scam
The complainant receives a call stating the caller is from the water department from a local municipality. They try to arrange for an appointment to come and inspect the complainant’s water pipes and metres for corrosion and functionality. They attend with the goal of selling their product when it’s likely not needed. Water services are managed by the Regional Municipality of Durham and not the local municipalities. Regional staff will not visit without sending an official letter to schedule an appointment and staff will always have proper identification.

Mega Lottery Scam
The scammer contacts the complainant claiming they have won $3.5 million in the Mega Lottery, yet they never bought a ticket. They then convince the complainant to pay the associated administrative and tax costs up front before any funds can be released. One of the toll free numbers used is 1-876-559-1558.
“Once the complainant agrees they are usually convinced to give up their bank account information. After seeing some money transferred into their account, the complainant is instructed to forward the monies on to another account, keeping some of the money. The complainant has now unknowingly assisted the parties in money laundering, and believes the monies from the lottery are starting to flow in. It’s important to note it is illegal in Canada to charge any fees to a lottery winner. In addition, lottery winnings are tax-free in the first year,” police said.

If you feel you are the victim of one of these frauds or any other, contact police at 1-888-579-1520 or visit The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website.