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Crime

Calgary police non-emergency number a part of 2 newest phone scams

WATCH: Calgary police are warning the public about phone scams and in particular, one with a new twist. Christa Dao reports.

Calgary police are warning the public about the newest trends emerging in phone scams, saying many of the fraudulent calls appear to be coming from their off-duty number.

According to the Calgary Police Service (CPS), fraudsters posing as representatives from their organization have started “spoofing” their off-duty number, (403) 266-1234, when calling people.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP issues phone scam alert, says fraudster falsely identifying himself as police officer

If the call isn’t answered, people often see they’ve missed a call that appears to be from police, piquing the recipient’s interest and prompting them to call the non-emergency number back.

In a news release, police said this has created an “influx of calls” to their dispatch centre.

In reality, CPS said their non-emergency number will never show up on a call display. Even if the call originates from a service member, the call display will show “blocked.”

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Another trend in phone scams, according to police, is fraudsters pretending the person they’re calling hasn’t paid their taxes, or claiming their Social Insurance Number (SIN) has been compromised.

The person who is called is asked to provide personal information in order to verify their identity, which allows for the fraudsters to commit identity theft.

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CPS said so far this year they’ve received “hundreds” of reports of phone scams.

“These scams do not target a specific group of people, it is a mass marketing fraud and a numbers game,” acting Staff Sgt. James Grossklaus said in a Friday news conference. “Basically, a robot calling service calls approximately 100,000 telephone numbers and of those telephone numbers, maybe 10 per cent are answered.”

Grossklaus said most of the fraudulent calls come from overseas.