RCMP warn residents to be wary of fraud
It should be no surprise that scam artists who try to sell things that don’t exist also use stolen credit card numbers to pay for their classified advertisements.
On Wednesday, Advocate classified staff caught and cancelled an order that arrived via the Internet to sell a 2010 Ford F-150 truck for $17,700. A stolen credit card number, the card owner’s name and address were used.
Red Deer City RCMP Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said that since Jan. 1, local police have received 16 reports of fraud over $5,000 and 104 reports of fraud under $5,000.
The number of fraud reports over $5,000 in the city increased to 86 in 2012 from 75 in 2011. Frauds under $5,000 jumped to 486 in 2012 from 430 in 2011.
The types of fraud weren’t identified, but there’s always something new, she said.
“There are constantly frauds going on. There are so many out there. They are constantly, constantly changing,” Knelsen said on Wednesday.
She said in this instance, the fraudster committed fraud under $5,000 by using the credit card to buy the ad and would have gone on to commit fraud over $5,000 if they convinced someone to pay $17,700 to buy the non-existent truck.
March is Fraud Prevention Month across Canada and Red Deer RCMP want to warn residents to beware email or letter requests to transfer large amounts of money overseas that will earn them money, Internet scams that infect personal computers, emergency scams from people posing as family members, and online romance scams.
“The Internet is used a lot of the time in some of these scams. Never send money, give credit card information or personal information online or over the phone. That’s No. 1. You don’t want to give out any information to anyone you don’t know or trust,” Knelsen said.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly how many people lose their money to these types of crime, she said.
“A lot of people get so embarrassed about getting scammed out of money that they don’t even report it to the police. We encourage everybody who believes they’re a victim of a fraudulent scam or fraudulent crime to contact the RCMP.”
RCMP also recommend:
l Do not give out personal information, over the phone or otherwise, unless you are able to confirm who is on the other end.
l Do not send any money or pay a fee to claim a prize.
l Be suspicious if this is a “today only” offer. If it is truly a legitimate deal, it will be there tomorrow.
l Treat your personal information with care. Do not leave it lying around for others to take.
l Shred old bills, statements, credit cards, etc.
l Rely on established businesses or individuals, whose reliability and credibility can be established through a professional organization such as the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on frauds or scams, refer to the Canadian anti-fraud centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or the competition bureau’s information centre at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca.
Fraud victims should report crimes to Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575 and to the Canadian anti-fraud centre at 1-888-495-8501.