Sylvan Lake residents are being warned that a scam involving a fake Town of Sylvan Lake survey is making the rounds.
Sylvan Lake RCMP said people are contacting the public and identifying themselves as town employees – in some cases using legitimate employee names and titles — and are asking residents to share private information.
The Town of Sylvan Lake will never ask for personal information like a birth date, social insurance number, or bank information for the purposes of a survey. The town does not call residents for bill payment, nor does it collect payment through email/etransfer.
Residents can only pay town bills through their online banking system or in person.
“Every year we see Sylvan Lakers lose thousands and thousands of dollars to scammers. Sometimes scammers try to build trust by being kind or building a relationship by contacting their victims several times – other times, scammers threaten or intimidate,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Andrew Shepherd.
“Everyone needs to take responsibility to educate and share these types of warnings about fraud, especially those you think are more vulnerable to scams. When in doubt – call the RCMP.”
Police want to remind the public to protect themselves and the vulnerable people in their lives by:
- Never giving personal or banking information over the phone unless they initiated the call, and it is an established, credible organization they can trust.
- No legitimate government agency or business will demand payment in gift cards or prepaid credit cards. Only scammers use this untraceable payment method.
- If people receive a call from someone claiming money is owed, independently verify the information by hanging up, looking up Canada Revenue Agency (or the appropriate agency), and calling them directly. Do not call back to a number given out by the person calling you.
- By using “number spoofing” scammers can make it look like their call is coming from a local number or the number of a business or agency to mislead people as to where they are located.
- Don’t give in to pressure to act immediately, whether the caller claims money is owed, offering a deal, asking for a donation or saying you won something – any legitimate business or agency will give people time to think.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Ask questions, demand proof.
- No lottery demands a payment up front before people can claim a prize.
- Refuse high pressure appeals. Legitimate businesses won’t push people to make a decision on the spot.