Police in the North Okanagan are warning residents to be wary of a phone scam featuring fraudsters impersonating RCMP members.
Vernon RCMP says it has reports of swindlers trying to lure unsuspecting residents into providing personal information, and, in some cases, large sums of money.
“What is particularly concerning in these recent reports, and makes the fraud even more convincing, is the phone number is being spoofed or altered to display a trusted phone number,” said police.
Police said in this case, fraudsters are using the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s non-emergency line, and residents could be tricked into thinking they are receiving a call from the RCMP.
“The RCMP will never request monetary payments, or ask for personal information such as social insurance numbers, bank or credit card information, garage door codes, or alarm codes,” said RCMP Const. Chris Terleski.
“Thankfully, the individuals who made these reports recognized what was happening and made the right decision to hang up and called us back on our non-emergency line.”
Police offered the below information on how to recognize, reject and report fraudulent calls.
- Never assume the caller is who they say they are simply because they have some basic information, such as your address or your birthdate.
- If you didn’t initiate the call, or you don’t know who you are talking to, never give out any personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers;
- Never pay a debt by crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others.
“If there is any reason to suspect the person you are speaking to is not a police officer, a government representative, or from a legitimate business or financial institution,” said police, “hang up and call back using publicly accessible numbers to verify who you are talking to.”
Police noted that if you did not provide any personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact police.
For more about phone scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.