5 scams that hit Mississauga and Brampton this past month

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Published October 15, 2023 at 4:17 pm

A rising wave of scams is deceiving Mississauga and Brampton residents, causing financial losses as they fall prey to these deceptive schemes.

Here are five scams that have been circulating in the Peel region:


Power-off scam

The fraudsters call business clients claiming to represent a utility service, threatening disconnection of services because of overdue accounts.

According to the Alectra Utilities company, scammers also use text messages and postal letters to contact clients about unpaid Smart Meter deposits.

Scammer will promise to release refunds through text messages with e-transfer links. However, if those links are clicked on, they can steal sensitive information including bank account numbers and (Social Insurance Numbers) SIN.


Healthcare benefits scam

The individual tricks a healthcare benefits provider by collaborating with employees from a well-known online retailer. The fraudsters then submit fake claims and once the benefits provider pays the amount,  the scammer and the involved employees share the funds.

A recent case similar in nature happened in Brampton. The scammer defrauded an online healthcare benefits provider out of more than $600,000 over two years.  Peel Regional Police eventually located a man and charged him in connection to the incident.

Police offer several tips that can help prevent benefits fraud:

  • protect your personal information, which includes your benefits plan username, password and other access information
  • never share your information for others to obtain products or services
  • check your receipts to ensure the accuracy of services or treatment received
  • never sign your name on blank forms
  • depending on your provider’s policy, keep a copy of the original receipt to support your claim
  • report any suspected abuse or fraud to your insurance company

Online sales scam

online scam ontario

Similar to the Facebook Marketplace scam the victim will reach out to an advertisement, looking to purchase a large item such as heavy machinery or farm equipment from sellers who are located in an different country.

The scammer shares stolen images and details of the item from other sources, and when the victim reaches out, they agree on a price.

The fraudster then asks for payment via wire transfer to a bank, but after receiving the money, they cut off communication, leaving the victim without the equipment.


Lottery scam

phishingscam

The scammer will contact residents and telling them they had won millions in a lottery.

The victims are tricked into sending money to the scammer under the false pretense that it’s meant to cover the taxes for their supposed winnings to be released.

The Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau say the most vulnerable people are often targeted, manipulated, and taken advantage of in many fraud-related schemes for the fraudster’s profit.

Police advise residents to always avoid sending money or personal information to someone you haven’t met.


Cryptocurrency scam

crypto scam in Ontario

An unknown person will text the victim of an investment opportunity.

If the victim agrees, they will be requested to transfer a sum of money to a website where they would receive a profit on their investment.

Once the scammer accepts the funds, they will convert the Canadian currency into cryptocurrency.

The fraudster will eventually “freeze” the investment and ceased all communication with the victim.

For more tips on fraud prevention, residents are encouraged to visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

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