RCMP issue fraud reminder

Frauds and scams are commonplace and a little knowledge can prevent people from becoming victims.

Frauds and scams are commonplace and a little knowledge can prevent people from becoming victims.

Locally recent frauds have victimized local residents.

An Internet romance scam defrauded two people out of $40,000, a person posing as a Canadian Cancer Society representative and soliciting donations defrauded people of more than $10,000 and a person lost their rent and a damage deposit to a fake Craigslist ad for a rental property the scammer did not own.

From January to October in 2012 there were 852 cases of fraud reported to the Red Deer City RCMP.

March is Fraud Prevention Month and the RCMP would like to remind people of frauds that are common.

Money transfer requests are common and have been found all over the world.

A target receives a letter or email from a scammer asking for help transferring a large amount of money overseas. The target is offered a share of the money if they agree to give the scammer personal bank account information to help with the transfer. The target will never be sent any money and they will lose the fees they paid.

The variant on this is if someone is selling an item and a scammer wants to purchase it. They will send a cheque or money order of greater value than the item. They will request to send the remaining difference back by money order or cash, which cannot be traced. The victim later learns that the original cheque or money order is fraudulent. Police said never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.

Internet scams are common and fraudster use unsolicited or junk emails, known as spam, to prey on victims. They use a variety of tricks to get their software on your computer, through links, pop-up messages or fake websites. The sole purpose of these efforts is to infect a person’s computer.

Another common form of fraud are emergency scams where an individual contacts a victim by phone advising they have been arrested by police and are in need of funds for bail. The scammer poses as a family member, often a grandchild, provides some details in an effort to prove who they claim to be. The individual attempts to secure money from the victim for their release from police custody, though there have been a number of variations to this scam. In some cases people have been defrauded thousands.

RCMP suggest people do not give out their personal information, unless they are able to confirm who is on the other end; do not send any money or pay a fee to claim a prize; be suspicious of a “today only” offer, if it is a truly legitimate deal, it will be there tomorrow; treat personal information with care and don’t leave it lying around; shred old bills and rely on established businesses or individuals, whose reliability and credibility can be established through professional organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or a 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.

If you have been a victim report it to the Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575 and to the Canadian anti-fraud centre at 1-888-495-8501.