Over the past week, the Fort St. John RCMP has experienced a sudden and steep rise in the number of calls about potential fraudulent activity.
Local residents are reporting that they are receiving phone calls from various phone numbers including those that show they are the Fort St. John RCMP detachment. Residents are then told they need to provide Google Play cards or some other gift card to pay back taxes and other penalties or fines or the RCMP will arrest them. One person actually came to the detachment with a handful of cards. Usually the victim is instructed how to forward the cards or the card codes.
The scammers are combining techniques by 1) using a technique called Caller ID Spoofing which can use a local phone number of an individual, business or government agency to hide their original phone number, and 2) using the CRA scam where they are threatening that money or fines are owed and police are coming after them.
The use of what appears to be the Fort St. John RCMP detachment phone number lends credibility to the call, misleading the unexpecting residents.
"The unfortunate thing with frauds is that scammers are emotionally and financially victimizing hardworking, tax paying citizens who in the end have no way of recovering the funds that they lose," said Constable Chad Neustaeter.
The Fort St. John RCMP wish to let residents know that no Government agency, Service Canada or the RCMP will ever call you demanding money for any reason.
"This is the third media release the Fort St .John RCMP detachment has released in the past 7 months which demonstrates the volume of calls and the devastation this type of scam is causing to our local residents," reiterated Constable Neustaeter. "If you receive any phone calls where you are asked to pay for anything by Google Play cards or Amazon gift cards, hang up, it is likely a scam."
If you have fallen victim to a scam or fraud of this type in the past week please call the Fort St John RCMP detachment at 250-787-8100.
For more tips and information regarding current scams and how to protect yourself, or if you have been solicited or victimized by a similar scam, you can also report it at The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) website which tracks fraudulent activity across Canada.
This information was provided by Fort St. John RCMP. Email your crime news tips to reporter Tom Summer at email@example.com.