RCMP issue warning about bill collection fraud making rounds in B.C. - InfoNews

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RCMP issue warning about bill collection fraud making rounds in B.C.

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August 21, 2019 - 10:12 AM

Police in Barriere have been getting so many reports about the latest bill collection phone fraud they have issued a warning to the public.

The scams involve a person claiming to be calling on behalf of a business service or government organization such as B.C. Hydro or the Canada Revenue Agency, according to an RCMP media release. The scammer will tell the victim they owe money and need to pay right away or face some sort of urgent penalty such as an arrest or having their utilities shut off.

Police say in some cases, the scammer may even know details about the victim’s accounts such as the balance, address or social insurance number in order to convince then the call is legitimate.

The scammer will ask for payment in a variety of unusual payments such as pre-paid debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, MoneyGram, Western Union or Bitcoin.

“The best course of action to take whenever you receive a cold call from someone claiming that you owe money is to hang up and contact the company or government entity directly via their telephone number in the phone book or official company website,” Barriere RCMP Cpl. Rob Welsman says in the release. “Do not use phone numbers, email addresses or website links provided by the scammer to contact the company as these are fraudulent and will only lead you back to the scammer themselves.”

Contact the business yourself directly instead of responding to cold calls.

Welsman says if you work at a business that sells gift cards, pre-paid cards or money transfer methods you can help prevent these scams from taking place. As well, employees can caution customers not to pay bills using these methods.

If you suspect that you have lost money to a fraudulent bill collector scheme, contact your local RCMP detachment and your bank or credit card provider to report the incident. These organizations can assist you in trying to recover the lost funds or at least prevent further loss.

For more information on this and other scams visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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