February 27, 2015 - 8:29 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - RCMP are reminding residents they have the power to protect themselves from fraud by checking out the latest scams in the area.
Scammers use a variety of methods to swindle the unsuspecting including phone calls, email or even a knock at the door. People might fall prey to internet phishing, text scams and fake charities, if they don't know what to look for.
In the last few weeks, a lottery prize scam surfaced in Vernon with several residents complaining scammers offered a large prize, but not without giving up personal details and banking information, according to a media release.
“The Community Policing Office has received notice that a resident has fallen victim to the Microsoft scam where a caller says they are from Microsoft, and that there is a problem with their computer,” Coordinator of the City of Vernon Community Policing Office Rachael Zubick said. “The scammer then asks for credit card info to pay for the computer to be fixed. The senior involved was scammed for several hundred dollars.”
Some scams are designed to take advantage of senior citizens. A fraudster might call claiming to be a lawyer or grandchild and say money is needed urgently to get a loved one out of trouble. The person targeted is told to send funds, but it disappears in the hands of the scammer.
The Nigerian letter scam has been around awhile but still nets a few unsuspecting people. The letter offers victims an inheritance from an unknown relative or a percentage of money that must be transferred overseas but the transaction can't take place unless the target reveals their banking information at which time the scammer cleans out the account.
“The good weather is expected to draw out service scammers,” Zubick said. “Some go from door-to-door offering to do repairs on a home and then ask for astronomical sums once the intimidated homeowner has agreed to the work. Service scams can also be made by telephone, from someone offering cheap Internet, medical or financial services in order to obtain personal information. These types of scams can also be for offerings of antivirus software and for credit card interest rate reduction schemes.”
The RCMP say if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Never give out personal, confidential information over the phone or internet unless you initiated contact and know who you're dealing with.
Protect your banking information. Never reveal you PIN or passwords to anyone including bank employees and family.
Keep personal information safe. Shred all receipts and credit car statements.
Be skeptical. If someone you don't know calls and says you have won a prize or vacation, don't feel pressured to make a purchase.
If you feel uncomfortable, hang up the phone or delete the email.
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