Hawkesbury OPP warn about the Unlucky 7 Cons list
The Hawkesbury OPP has had a few busy weeks, early in the year, dealing with complaints about con artists trying to scam their way into the bank accounts of area residents with the Unlucky 7 Most Popular fraud routines.
Police have received a number of calls about phony telemarketers and also people pretending to represent the Canada Revenue Agency. Therefore, police want to make residents aware of the Unlucky 7 most popular cons showing up again in Prescott County and surrounding areas.
The “phony tax agent/Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)” scam is one such scam, whereby the con artist claims that the recipient is either overdue with a tax payment from the year before or may be entitled to extra refund money from the government. The CRA does not call or email taxpayers demanding payment on any outstanding tax debts and does not have the authority to send police to make an arrest.
The “family emergency/grandparent scam”, is another scam. It mainly targets seniors, trying to convince them that a grandchild is in trouble and needs either bail money or a loan for travel expenses, a medical emergency, or some other reason.
The “Mystery Shopper” scam is simple. The con artist claims to represent a “mystery shopping” outlet that does price comparisons for its business clients. The victim is asked to help evaluate the customer service of a local MoneyGram or other kind of storefront cheque-cashing outlet in return for a “finder’s fee” payment. A “cheque” is sent to the victim involving a large sum of money. The cheque is taken to a MoneyGram or other such outlet, cashed, and the bulk of the funds, minus the “finder’s fee” for the victim, then forwarded to another “mystery shopper” who is in actual fact the con artist. The cheque-cashing outlet later discovers the cheque is a fake and the victim is forced to repay the money lost.
Other scams include the “Microsoft AntiVirus”, “Internet Service”, and the “Internet Phishing” scam. These scams depend on the victim not being too knowledgeable about Internet sales services and systems. Such scams may lead to identity theft.
Last of the “Unlucky 7” is the “fake charity donation” scam, which is becoming more common as con artists rely on sympathy for people and groups in trouble as a result of natural disasters and civil unrest or other causes. Businesses are also becoming a more common target to support alleged community aid projects. These may be legitimate but the con artists may be using them as a cover for their scams.
Anyone who suspects they are the target of a fraud routine should refuse to provide any information or provide any payments requested. They should report the incident to police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.
Residents and business owners who want to be better informed about the most common fraud routines, how to recognize them, what to do when approached, and how to avoid losing either their money or their personal identity can get The Little Black Book of Scams from the federal government’s competition bureau website at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca, and look under “Publications”.