As Fraud Prevention Month wraps up, Calgary police have teamed up with Crime Stoppers to reveal the three most common scams to which Calgarians fall victim every day.
Here’s the list – but beware, police say scammers may change some of the details in an effort to trick even more people.
Canada Revenue Agency scam
In the phone version of this scam, the victim receives a call from someone claiming to work for Canada Citizenship and Immigration, or the Canada Revenue Agency, and threatening the victim with jail or deportation if un-paid fees or taxes are not paid.
The scammers then direct the victim to pay the amount due through e-transfer, money wire transfer or, bizarrely, by buying pre-paid gift cards, to be mailed to a specific address.
In the email version of this scam, the victim receives an email containing a fake link supposedly to collect a tax refund.
When the victim clicks the link, they are asked to supply personal or financial information to verify their identity – giving the scammer everything they need to know to rip you off even more.
In this scam, a job ad is posted online. After the victim applies for the position, they are told the company will hire them – with more responsibilities than initially advertised.
The scammer then sends a cheque or e-transfers money to the victim, telling them to take the money and keep some to buy office equipment or bitcoins.
The fraudster tells the victim the rest of the money, or the bitcoins, are to be sent to a specific account.
Later, the e-transfer or cheque is deemed fraudulent – and the victim is on the hook for all the money they sent to the scammer and/or the money they used to buy the bitcoins.
Note – the secret shopper scam is similar to this. The victim is “hired” to report on the customer service of a specific company and is then sent a fake cheque with directions to transfer some of the money to a specific person. When the cheque is found to be fraudulent, the victim is on the hook for the money wired.
Pre-Paid Contractor Scam
In this scam, illegitimate contractors, who do not have a Prepaid Contractors Licence from Service Alberta, go door to door, looking for victims planning to do home renovations.
These scammers then take deposits before doing any work and fail to complete the agreed upon service, leaving the victim on the hook for their deposit.
In Alberta, only contractors with a Prepaid Contracting Licence can accept money before all the work is complete, and can solicit, negotiate or conclude prepaid contracts in person at any place other than the sellers’ place of business.