RCMP warn of ’emergency’ phone scam

The “emergency” scam is re-emerging and Red Deer RCMP are warning people to be alert about late-night phone calls.

The “emergency” scam is re-emerging and Red Deer RCMP are warning people to be alert about late-night phone calls.

The telephone scam occurring in the Red Deer area has people phoning senior citizens posing as a nephew, niece, grandchild or relative. The fraudster claims they are in an emergency situation and are in need of cash, quickly.

Recently, the fraudulent callers claim they were in a car collision, are having trouble returning from a foreign country or that they were arrested by police and need money for bail.

Police say the fraudsters posing as a family member provide some details to their victim, in an attempt to “prove,” they are who they claim to be. Sometimes they will claim their voice has been altered due to an injury.

There are a number of variations of this telephone scam, some involve providing detailed follow-up information from a second person posing as a lawyer.

Victims in Red Deer have been asked to wire money through money transfer service. They are also not asked to tell others because the caller is afraid to get in trouble with their parents.

While the emergency scams have been around for a while, police have seen an increase in the number of complaints over the past few weeks — in some cases, people have been defrauded of thousands of dollars.

Red Deer City RCMP suggest that to avoid being the victim of fraud, people should not give out personal information over the telephone unless you are able to confirm who is on the other end.

RCMP also suggest:

• do not send any money to anyone claiming it’s an emergency unless you make an effort to confirm the validity; do not send any money or pay a fee to claim a prize;

• be suspicious of any “today only” offer, if it is truly a legitimate deal it will be there tomorrow;

• treat your personal information with care, do not leave it lying around for others to take;

• shred old bills, statements or credit cards; rely on established businesses or individuals whose reliability can be established through a professional organization such as the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce.

Anyone who has been the victim of a fraud or suspect a business, telemarketer or advertisement is fraudulent report it to the Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575 or to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-88-495-8501.

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