Fraud and scam reminder to residents

Your Orangeville Police Service would like to remind residents that fraud and scams are still prevalent in our community. Police continue to receive reports of residents being targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam, distraction scams and scams involving online purchases.

Phone calls are being received by fraudsters claiming to be from the CRA advising people that they owe money to the CRA. They are told that they can settle their debt for a fraction of what is owed if they pay off the debt immediately. They are told to make payment with various gift cards and in some incidents by Bitcoin. The fraudsters will even go so far as to tell the person that the police will attend their homes and arrest them if they don’t follow the instructions given. The public can easily recognize that these incidents are scams by remembering that the Canada Revenue Agency would never operate in this fashion. If you are questioning whether or not you owe money to the CRA please contact the CRA directly to make inquiries.

Distraction scams involve at least two fraudsters. One may engage the targeted victim by dropping some money on the ground while the second is stealing an item such as cash or a credit card from a purse. Members of the public need to be aware of their surroundings and not leave handbags unattended and vulnerable to thieves.

An increasing number of scams have been reported to police involving online purchases. Most reports have been for significant purchases such as motor vehicles or for rental properties involving deposits. Always check with a reliable offline source before giving any information or completing transactions requesting money, gift card or Bitcoin payments. Avoid making payment until you are able to view the product first hand. Purchases for products that are not seen in person have a greater risk of being scams.

Residents should use common sense and remember that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is a scam. Take the time to research a product, service or business opportunity to avoid becoming a victim of these crimes.

For more information about frauds and scams visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Posted on May 9, 2019