“They said the taxes were $6,000,” said Harvey.
“She cashed in her children’s RESPs in their entirety to pay. Did she get her $250,000? No. Thankfully we were able to get her money back for her, but that doesn’t always happen.”
How you can tell it is a fraud?
• Harvey noted in Canada lottery winnings are not taxed.
• “If you didn’t enter a lottery folks, then you didn’t win one,” said Harvey.
• Gray said this scam can take other forms, such as a person calling or emailing and saying you are to receive an inheritance from some unknown relative. The tactic is the same in that the victim will be asked for money so the “inheritance” can be released.
• Gray said if the victim pays the amount being asked, then the scammer will probably ask for more saying there is some kind of obstacle. This escalation will continue.
• The victim may be asked to keep the lottery win or inheritance secret.
• Harvey said if you get these calls, just hang up. He warned against confronting the scammer for fear the victim’s phone number will then be used by the fraudster to appear on call display for future calls.
This scam starts out with the victim meeting someone, often online, who feigns romantic interest. The scammer essentially grooms the victim, sometimes for months. Eventually the scammer will ask the victim for money. In one 2018 case, Harvey said a retired Halton teacher was defrauded of $1.2 million by a romance scammer. The individual kept coming back for more money until Halton police were able to finally convince the victim that the relationship was a fraud.
Emergency Scams/Grandchild Scam
In another instance, Harvey said the scammer may pretend to be the victim’s grandchild or a lawyer or police officer. They tell the victim there has been an accident and their loved one is in jail or in a hospital outside the country. The victim is then asked to send money to help their loved one.
How can you tell it is a fraud?
• The loved one may not sound like themselves. The fraudster can actually use an app that makes the connection unclear. They might also say something like “I have a cold” or “My nose was broken in the accident.”
• Harvey said the fraudster may not know the grandchild’s name and will rely on the victim to provide it. They may say something like “Hi, it’s your favourite grandchild.”
• Gray said the caller will probably tell the victim not to call the grandchild’s parents, saying they don’t want to get in trouble.
• Harvey said the scammer tries to make the situation seem incredibly urgent to try to get the victim to send money without thinking.
• He also noted judges, police and other legal entities will never request money to be sent through money services.
• Harvey said this scam can be easily defeated by calling the grandchild (not on any number provided by the caller).
Sim Swap Scam
The sim swap scam involves a fraudster being able to provide enough of the victim’s information (possibly taken from social media) to be able to move the victim’s cell number from one carrier to another.
From there the scammer is able to access other sensitive information.
• Police said if your phone suddenly loses service, contact your cellphone provider immediately. Waiting just gives the fraudster more time to take over your bank accounts and credit card accounts.
• This scam can be prevented by calling your service provider and having a pin installed on your account.
For more information visit https://www.haltonpolice.ca/about/specializedunits/fraud.php.
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