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Police warn of increase in scam activity

Police say that anytime you receive unsolicited communication asking for money or telling you that you won money, being cautious and suspicious isn't a bad thing

The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind the public that there are many schemes being used to defraud the public. 

As of recently, scammers have increased their contact frequency and footprint in the East Algoma area. There has been a significant increase in unwanted texts and phone calls from scammers. A text example may read something along the lines of; "Fraud Alert! Unauthorized transactions on your credit card. Click here to view the details."  Do not ever click on a link that is provided! A phone call scam will start out with an automated recording, stating that "there have been unauthorized charges on your credit card for two specified amounts. Press 1 if you authorized these, press 2 if you did not and speak to an agent."

No matter what you press, your call will be transferred to a scammer. 

Any legitimate agency will never request a payment by pre-paid gift cards such as Google Play, iTunes, Vanilla, etc. Also, they will never ask you to verify credit card numbers over the phone. And, only Scammers will ask you to purchase large denomination gift cards as form of payment.

If you receive any unsolicited communication by any means asking for money to be given or that you won money, be cautious and suspicious. Never give out any personal, credit or banking information to anyone over the phone, by letter, email, fax or any other means of communication. Never provide anyone your Social Insurance Number (SIN) over the phone. Often, the victims are presented with a situation that is either very serious and/or needs immediate attention and they feel pressured to provide the information requested on the spot. This is a tactic frequently used in the scams.

"Awareness is key when it comes to recognizing frauds and scams. There are so many types out there but the better educated the public are, the less chance they have to fall victim to these ruthless scammers. Don't keep it a secret - talk to a friend, family member, neighbour, or police before making any decisions to send money to people you don't know", says OPP Community Safety Officer Phil Young.

If you believe that someone is posing as a fraudster on the phone, just hang up. Also, you can report it through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your local police agency.