Haw­kes­bu­ry OPP warn about the Un­lu­cky 7 Cons list

Tribune Express - - NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

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”.

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