RCMP are asking residents to be wary of phone scams. (File photo)

Column: Scammers say it’s time to go to jail, go directly to jail

The View From Here by Martha Wickett

Full disclosure: My social insurance number and I are on the country’s most wanted list.

Though I may be bad, I am not unique. Felons abound in these parts, I’ve learned; many have received the same phone calls I have.

The call I received three days in a row was from “the legal department of Service Canada.” It states there will be enforcement action against my SIN. So, before the matter goes before the federal courthouse (on the lawn?) or I get arrested, I’m told to “kindly press one and speak to an officer now.”

The folks at real Service Canada have heard a lot about this scam. They’ve even heard that the scammers can change the number they’re calling from, so it appears a police department is calling.

A check with Salmon Arm RCMP reveals the scammers are dumb enough, or, to be kind, bold enough, to even try the arrest scam on those who do the arresting.

“I myself often receive notices/messages on my RCMP work phone indicating that I will soon be arrested for failure to pay taxes/tickets/etc. I simply hang up,” states Sgt. Scott Lachapelle.

Read more: Cat-phishing tops list of Better Business Bureau’s 10 scams of 2018

Read more: BBB warns of the 12 scams of Christmas

Read more: Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

For myself, I also recently received a scam text from “Canada Post,” telling me my package has been sent back and directing me to tap on an innocent-looking link to confirm the shipment.

Lachapelle says new scams come to light every day – so many it’s difficult to keep track of them all.

“Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes such as these telephone solicitations.”

Identity thieves using the phone are often looking for: full name, date of birth, social insurance number, full address, mother’s maiden name, user-name and password for online services, driver’s licence number, personal identification number (PIN), credit card information (number, expiry date, the three digits on the signature panel), bank account number or signature.

The best advice, says Lachapelle, is to never reveal any personal information to anyone who calls, because you don’t really know who is calling you.

But, if you suspect or know you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provide personal or financial information, you should: 1. Contact local police and file a report. 2. Contact your financial institution and credit card company. 3. Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. That’s Equifax Canada, toll free at 1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion Canada, toll free at 1- 877-525-3823. 4. Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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