Police have issued a warning following of a significant increase in fraud incidents targeting residents of Durham Region.
While scammers are targeting people from every age and background, the majority of the victims are elderly according to police.
The fraud incidents include, but are not limited to:
- Requests for large scale gift card purchases, for funds to be sent for “injured or sick” family members;
- Extortion calls/emails claiming to be from law enforcement regarding “outstanding warrants for your arrest” and the requirement for payment to deal with the matter;
- Calls from someone claiming to be from Canada Border Services Agency or Service Canada advising that a package to you was intercepted containing illegal substances, or that there is illegal activity on your SIN card;
- The Romance Scam – victim develops a relationship with someone they have never met in person over social media. The interaction eventually leads to requests for money with promises that the funds will be returned when they finally get to meet. No meeting ever takes place; and,
- The Loan Scam – targets victims experiencing financial hardship. Applications are submitted online to fraudulent websites, with victims being told they have been approved. The suspects then demand the victim send payment upfront to cover administrative fees and “secure” the loan.
“We would like to remind residents not to provide any personal information over the phone and to never send money to anyone you do not know, whether that exchange is made in cash, cryptocurrency, e-transfer, wire transfer, or gift cards,” reads a media release from police.
“Staff at retail stores should also keep a watchful eye and explain to people buying a large quantity of gift cards that they are likely involved in a scam.”
Police encourage business owners to print and display the poster below to help prevent their customers from becoming a victim of fraud.