Scams do not pick a season. Most scams are ongoing no matter what time of the year and even when similar scams are already being investigated after discovery by law enforcement. This is especially true in Brampton and Mississauga and so Peel police are warning residents that there are several common and ongoing scams making the rounds in the region.
Scams to Watch Out For
4 common scams have been identified by Peel Regional Police’s Service Fraud Bureau. The scams are the ones commonly targeting residents of Mississauga and Brampton. They are:
- Canada Revenue Agency Scam or CRA Scam, otherwise known as Emergency Scam or Police or Bank Employee Scam
- Company Invoice Scam or Paycheque Redirect
- Employment Scams
- Rental Accommodation Fraud
The police said that the scams lined up above are the most prevalent according to their records and the ones that pose the most threat to residents because they persist.
Different Modes, Same Scams
Some scams, like the CRA scam or bank employee and police scam, simply have the same pattern but can take so many different forms, making people fall for them again and again because each scenario can seem so convincing. It can take the form of a bank employee pretending to want to fix an internal fraud, tricking the victim into disclosing personal details and then the scammer using those details to commit more fraud. It can also take the form of a call from someone pretending to be the police or the CRA giving a warning of arrest for an alleged missing payment. Some variations involve a caller pretending to be a relative of the victim or a lawyer saying that there has been a serious car accident and bail money is needed as soon as possible. The same scenarios play out, in which the victim is targeted and made to panic to be more malleable for manipulation. Victims are then told by the scammer to buy huge amounts of gift cards and forward the gift card information to scammers over the phone, or to make a cash deposit into a Bitcoin ATM.
As for Rental Accommodation Fraud, fake landlords target prospective renters on buy-and-sell websites and are asked for a deposit to make sure that the property to be rented is reserved for them. After sending the deposit payment, the rental property turns out to be unavailable or doesn’t exist at all.
Paycheque Redirect and Company Invoice Scams target businesses by sending fake invoices that look like they were from a legitimate employee or customer. The email address used is fraudulent and usually only discovered after payments were already maid via direct transfer to a new bank account under the scammers’ control.
Employment Scams target victims that are looking for work using online services. Scammers pose as a new employer and send the victim a cheque that the victim is instructed to en-cash and deposit to another account either using Interac e-transfer or a Bitcoin ATM. The cheque turns out fraudulent later and the victim has to cover the money sent.
Be Vigilant and Beware
Residents are reminded by Peel Police to never send e-transfers unless they are sure that they are dealing with a reputable service with a guarantee for loss-prevention. Depositing cheques from an unknown source and then transferring the money to another account is also a form of money laundering which has severe consequences. It is best to be vigilant and not very trusting of people online or calls from unverifiable sources.
If you think that you or someone you know maybe being targeted for a scam, be sure to contact the local authorities in your area for a report. If you’re concerned about finding out more and whether your information may have been compromised, contact us to avail of our private investigation services for fraud prevention.