‘Never trust’ caller ID amid ongoing scams, York police warn

A person uses a cell phone in Ottawa on Monday, July 18, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Police are warning the public to “never trust” caller ID amid ongoing scams, including recent incidents in which suspects claim to be court or Crown attorney officials.

York Regional Police issued a statement Thursday about “phone number spoofing,” where suspects use technology to alter caller ID to display fake information and make it seem as if a call is coming from any organization or business.

“In recent incidents, fraudsters have contacted victims by telephone and identified themselves as a Crown attorney or judge from the Newmarket Courts,” the statement said.

“The fraudster tells the victim to provide a monetary payment or financial information to avoid their assets from being seized or frozen.”

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The Ontario Court of Justice or the Crown Attorney’s office would never make a phone call demanding money or detailed personal information, police said, and anyone who receives such a call should consider it a scam.

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“If you have concerns about the possibility of being involved in a police or criminal investigation, this should be discussed and confirmed directly with your local police service,” the statement said.

Other spoofing scams in general involve people posing as if they are calling from government agencies, police services, the Canada Revenue Agency or other legal entities.

“Citizens are encouraged to confirm who they are speaking to through their own research and never trust the information displayed on an incoming call,” police said.

Any call or email that feels suspicious should be treated as such, police said, adding that individuals should avoid being talked into providing personal info or payments by methods that are unfamiliar or feel uncomfortable.

Companies or agencies should be called back to verify information, police said.

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