Ongoing Scams

Fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in North America. If you are a victim of Fraud and/or Identity Theft / Identity Fraud, report it now. There are countless fraud types, and fraudsters always make up new frauds in order to make money. They use many of the same long standing frauds, and add a twist or combine multiple fraud types into a larger fraud. Here is a list of some of the most common types of fraud. 

Identity Theft

Occurs when a person uses a victim's personal information for a criminal purpose.

Internet Frauds

1)  Phishing

  • A fraudster uses emails, text messages or websites pretending to be from a legitimate company such as a financial institution or government agency. The victim is led to believe that they must confirm their personal and/or financial information, which is intended for a criminal purpose.   

2)  Ransomware

  • A computer virus that blocks a victim's access to their computer, including important personal data, until money or virtual currency is paid to the fraudster. The fraudster claims that the victim will receive access to their data once a fee (ransom) has been paid. The fraudster may or may not restore the victim's access. The victim suffers the financial loss.

Scams

1)    Advance Payment Scams (Prize, Lottery, Inheritance Scams)

  • The fraudster tells a victim that the victim has won a lottery or prize, or is the beneficiary of a large inheritance. The victim is required to pay an upfront fee in order to receive the money. The victim suffers the financial loss.

2)    Cheque Fraud

  • The fraudster presents a real cheque that was stolen or altered, or a fake cheque.

3)    Door-to-Door Scams / Service Scams

  • The fraudster pressures the victim into buying a product or service that is not needed or the product or service price is inflated. The victim suffers the financial loss.

4)    Emergency Scams (often called Grandparent Scams)

  • The fraudster contacts the victim claiming that a family member is in crisis and needs money. The victim is directed to send money immediately. The victim suffers the financial loss.

5)    Employment Scams / Job Scams

  • The victim applies for a job and is selected. The fraudster sends the victim a cheque. The victim is told to keep a portion of the cheque amount for their work. The remaining amount is sent elsewhere. The job and cheque are fakes. The victim suffers the financial loss.
Extortion Scams

1)  Ransomware

  • A computer virus that blocks a victim's access to their computer, including important personal data, until money or virtual currency is paid to the fraudster. The fraudster claims that the victim will receive access to their data once a fee (ransom) has been paid. The fraudster may or may not restore the victim's access. The victim suffers the financial loss.

2)  Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Scams

  • The fraudster claims to be with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and advises the victim that the victim owes money to the CRA. In order to avoid arrest or a fine, the victim must pay a fee immediately. The fraudster may request payment via money service businesses, pre‐paid cards/gift cards (iTunes, Google Play or Steam cards) or Bitcoin. Ignore these calls and emails and DO NOT provide personal information or send money. 
  • Maybe you have received an email or phone call about being eligible for a tax refund. Canada Revenue Agency will not provide tax refunds through e-transfer. If you receive an email similar to the above, call police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report the scam. You should also tell your friends and family so they are aware of the new tactic being used by scammers.

3)  Immigration Scams

  • The fraudster claims to be with Immigration Canada (official name - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)), and advises the victim that there is a problem with the victim's documents. In order to avoid arrest, deportation or loss of citizenship, the victim must pay a fee immediately. The victim suffers the financial loss.

4)  SIM Card Swapping

  • Do you use your cell phone or tablet to browse your social media accounts, update your online banking or shop online? Fraudsters are aware that your phone is a treasure chest of information. Scammers are using SIM swapping and phone number porting to gain access to your email, social media and financial accounts. From there, they can access your personal information and data. How you can protect yourself: 
  • Keep your personal information personal. It is as simple as not publishing your date of birth on social media
  • Do not answer phishing emails or text messages looking for you to confirm your password or update your account information
  • Use an offline password manager
  • Contact your phone provider and ask about additional security measures that may be available
  • If you lose mobile service on your device, contact your service provider immediately
Investment Scams
  • The fraudster persuades the victim to invest in investments with inflated returns. The investments are later determined to be worthless or non-existent. The victim suffers the financial loss.  
Overpayment Scams
  • A fraudster contacts the victim who is selling a product. The fraudster pays the victim with a cheque in an amount above the asking price. The victim is directed to send the excess funds elsewhere. The cheque is fake. The victim suffers the financial loss.
Romance Scams
  • A fraudster gains the trust and affection of the victim. Eventually the fraudster asks the victim for money, typically for a crisis. The victim continues to send money until they realize it is a fraud or no more money is available. The victim suffers the financial loss.
  • Romance scams happen in Waterloo Region. Don’t be a victim.
  • In 2019, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 972 complaints related to romance scams, which included 682 victims who lost over $19 million to scammers pretending to be in love.
  • Waterloo Regional Police have received reports of online romance scams where a victim was reportedly scammed out of $500,000 (USD). Similarly, in another instance, a female victim was defrauded $1 million (CDN) over the course of four years. In both cases the victims believed that they were in a relationship, but never met the individual who they were corresponding with online.
  • Example: #20-047622 – A complainant’s mother is currently in the hospital. The complainant found paperwork in the mother’s possession indicating she may have been the victim of a $125,000 relationship fraud. 

The following are safety tips to consider when engaging online with an unknown individual: 

  • Be wary of someone who professes their love to you who you haven’t met in person
  • Do an image search of the person to see if their photo is taken from a stock image
  • Be cautious of someone who avoids meeting face-to-face
  • The scammer may express distress or an emergency that requires you to send them money very early on in your communications. Do NOT send money.
  • Look for inconsistencies in their online profile and what they tell you 
Debit Card / Credit Card Fraud (Payment Card Fraud)
  • The fraudster uses a device to tamper an Automated Bank/Teller Machine (ABM/ATM) or Point of Sale payment terminal ('debit machine') to capture data from a payment card and/or Personal Identification Number (PIN); then uses the information to make purchases.
  • For more information on Payment Card Fraud, and to avoid being a victim, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, watch a Bank of Canada Video, and visit Interac.

Card-Not-Present Scams

Card-not-present (CNP) fraud is defined as the unauthorized and/or fraudulent gathering, trade and use of payment data (card numbers, expiry dates and passwords). For CNP to occur, this data must be used in instances where the card and cardholder are not present (via phone, email, fax, or website).

  • Know the Red Flags and verify every order request received
  • Before shipping merchandise, verify the information provided by the customer (telephone number, email address, shipping address etc.)
  • Be aware of request for priority shipments for fraud-prone merchandise
  • Verify priority shipping requests when the shipping address and the billing address do not match
  • For suspicious orders, contact your processor. Verify the security measures to prevent victimization and reduce unwanted chargebacks.
  • Never accept overpayments to forward funds to a third party

Merchants who accept CNP orders can lower their risk of fraud by using the automated verification tools supported by their payment processors.

Counterfeit Currency
  •  The fraudster produces imitation money to look like real money. The victim suffers the financial loss. 


For more information on Ongoing Scams, and to avoid being a victim, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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