It’s one thing to be targeted by scams as a business, but it just hits too close to home when your community is the scam’s target. Peel police have been alerted of such a scam that has been targeting a specific community in Mississauga.
Word of Warning
Residents in Mississauga have been warned by the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau that a scam knows as “Emergency Scam” has been going on in the area. The scam’s target are the elderly Polish-speaking residents of the area.
Beware of Clever Hoaxes
The scam tricks residents by using emotional blackmail and faking an emergency. Usually, a fraudulent individual calls the victim and would claim to be a family member such as a child, grandchild, or a relative. This is then followed by the suspects telling the victim that he or she is in some trouble and is in dire need of immediate financial help. The fraudster then reiterates that the matter is urgent and that no other family member can know about what is going on.
Another variation of the scam is where the fraudster will claim to be a concerned police officer or an attorney that is representing the loved one who is in trouble.
The police shared that the above claims are often followed by a range of stories that are all carefully crafted to elicit concern and sympathy. Some stories tell of the impostor relative being in a car crash or being arrested for drunk driving. Some versions talk of being trapped in a foreign country or being in the hospital with an injury or illness. Some stories share of winning the lottery and needing help paying taxes to claim the prize money.
Victims are often instructed to leave valuables or money to the fraudster’s appointed person. All of these happen via phone.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
Residents are being reminded by police that details like the above should be verified with the real family member before helping out and that all requests for help or money via phone by unverified parties should be dealt with cautiousness.
The following are more anti-scam tips that were provided by the police:
- Note that a lawyer or a police officer will usually not ask for money via a phone call.
- If you have relatives or elderly family members that live alone, they must be made aware of this scam.
- Be aware that there are many scams that work over the phone or the internet and that many suspects usually scout their victim’s social media profiles for information. Protect your social media details.
- Any request for money should be carefully evaluated and verified.
- Should you receive an emergency call, it is important that you stay calm and check details with a relative or a friend before taking action.
- Stay informed by visiting antifraudcentre.ca or reading current Toronto news articles.
Note that anonymous tips can be shared with the proper authorities by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca or by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Alternatively, you can contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3335