(Advocate file photo).

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

Several Red Deer businesses were “spoofed” by the same prank calls that affected the Redcliff RCMP.

Bev Krausher, owner of Great Strides shoe store, said she was alarmed to discover that a scammer had taken over her fax and internet line, making random calls to people between 1:30 and 2 a.m. on Monday night.

Her line contains the last four digits 2222 — the same as the Redcliff RCMP detachment, which was also spoofed this week.

Redcliff citizens began receiving calls at 11 p.m. that were supposedly from the police department. If they picked up the phone, there was dead air.

If they tried calling the number on their call display — 403-548-2222 — they ended up inundating the Redcliff RCMP complaint line.

As Redcliff police had not made these calls, impacted residents were told to complain to the Telus support line at 611.

Krausher said a Telus representative didn’t seem overly concerned when she initially reported her spoofing incident — even though she was not the only Red Deer business operator who had a phone or fax line taken over by an unknown person.

“I was just told here were some irregularities on my line.”

Eventide Funeral Home and the Red Deer Canadian Tire store also have phone lines ending in 2222. And Krausher believes calls from their numbers were also made to people in the middle of the night.

Although no one from Eventide would comment on the incident Thursday, Krausher said it would be particularly alarming to get a call from a funeral home in the early hours.

Telus seemed more concerned after the Redcliff RCMP incident, said Krausher. She received the following reply from the phone company: “Spoofers can mask the number they’re calling from… It can be hard to prevent or block these callers as they change the number that they’re displaying often.

“The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre accepts reports of spam calls like this. You can find out more from their website www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.”

Although the local calls appear to be pranks, spoof calls made in Ontario had a more nefarious purpose. In Brampton, calls supposedly from the RCMP either told victims there’s a large amount of money owing on their taxes, or that an arrest warrant was issued in their name.

It makes Krausher uneasy that somebody is able to control her fax and internet number.

TELUS states that it is supporting law enforcement officials. Caller ID spoofing, “unfortunately affects all Canadian carriers. It is not caused by a glitch in a carrier’s system: fraudsters, who are often located overseas, use software to make the incoming number appear local, then dial multiple numbers at the same time, waiting for someone to pick up. We certainly understand how frustrating these nuisance calls are.”

H



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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