Caution – Phone scams in our region
PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is warning the public to be more cautious about a telephone fraud scheme that affects several regions of Quebec, including Vaudreuil-Soulanges, where there have been reports of this type of fraud.
A citizen receives a phone call from someone who speaks English who may claim to be a police officer. They will then ask you to validate your name, social insurance number or other personal information. In the event that the citizen refuses to give this information, the fraudster threatens that the police will come quickly to arrest him if he does not collaborate. In some cases, the fraudster adds that the citizen has been the victim of fraud and also asks him to confirm his banking information and make a transfer to a specific account to protect his money. The fraudster even asks the citizen to buy prepaid cards from various businesses and asks the victim to provide the card validation number to avoid further problems with the law. In other cases, he asks for the phone number of his local police force and mentions that a police officer from that location will contact him. A call is then made again to the citizen and the display indicates a number that corresponds to that of a police station of the Sûreté du Québec.
These calls are fraudulent and are known as ‘caller ID spoofing.’ Police officers do not communicate with citizens for the purpose of extracting personal or financial information. Be especially careful when someone claims to work for a public service.
• If you receive a call from someone you don’t know, always ask for their name and the company they represent. Find the official telephone number of the company or public service that contacted you on your statement of account or on a secure website (starting with ‘https://’). Check the authenticity of the request addressed to you.
• Never assume the phone number on your display is correct. Fraudsters use software or applications to deceive their victims.
• Never disclose your social insurance number. Under the law, only government agencies, your employer (at the time of hiring) or your financial institution may require it.
• Do not give out your personal information and banking information over the phone unless you are calling or the number comes from a trusted source.
• Be wary if you are asked to pay fees by email, phone or text message.
• Never send money to someone you do not know and trust.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and service providers are in the process of implementing safeguards to decrease, and eventually eliminate, this type of call.
Remember that any information on criminal acts or suspicious events can be sent to the Sûreté du Québec Criminal Information Center at 1-800-659-4264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-711-1800.
For more information on fraud, citizens are invited to consult the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.