Phone scams aren’t new, but recently, scammers have begun spoofing phone numbers in the bid to get money from people.
Lately, people across Canada and the U.S. have been getting calls from scammers pretending to be from law enforcement, the Canada Revenue Agency and various charities, explained Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department.
Usually, calling the number back results in an out-of-service message because the scammer isn’t really calling from that number.
Anastasiades recounted the most recent incident in Saanich where a resident came into the police department after a scammer convinced them they were going to be arrested if they didn’t hand over money to the police. Luckily, instead of sending money, the concerned resident went to the Saanich police who explained the scam. Police will never call asking for money, Anastasiades emphasized.
In that instance, no report was filed because no fraud was committed, but the information helps keep officers track scam trends – whether or not fraud was committed.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in these situations, Anastasiades said. Informing police of scam calls helps them stay on top of the issue and spread the word.
Scammers are becoming increasingly aware of the prevention measures and warnings police have put in place, Anastasiades noted. For example, one scammer told a Saanich resident to deposit money in a Bitcoin machine and to ignore the sign posted on the machine that explained the scam.
Anastasiades recommends talking to friends and peers about scam calls and being wary of callers asking for money.