6 scams that hit Mississauga and Brampton over the last month

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Published May 6, 2023 at 1:10 pm

New frauds in Ontario involving fake anti-fraud representatives

Lately, it seems scams are rapidly spreading like the plague with more sophisticated plans targeting every industry.

From home improvement schemes to return on investment ploys, here are six scams that hit Mississauga and Brampton last month:


Home repair scams

With the warmer weather upon us, home improvement scams are on the rise.

Often perpetrated by door-to-door solicitors who offer quick, low-cost repairs. In most cases, the contractors take payment and never return to do the work.

In some variations, they do shoddy work, don’t finish the job, or dramatically increase the price after the original agreement.

One sign of these types of fraudsters is a sense of urgency, Peel Regional Police warn. They might try to get you to sign a contract right away. 

“DO NOT sign anything or give money,” police advise.

Home repair scams became the number one riskiest scam type reported in Canada in 2022, according to the Better Business Bureau. Reports of home improvement scams by Canadians increased 51.2 per cent in 2022.


Crypto craze scams

Crypto scammers use various tools to entrap you. They create a false sense of urgency and capitalize on your fear of missing out on the next big thing,” agency officials say. “They use fake websites that feature phony reviews and endorsements from celebrities and regulators, even fake videos, all to make the investment look legitimate.

The fraudsters will reach out to the victim through the usual channels, like deceptive ads on social media, apps and websites, or through phone calls, emails and text messages. Then they make the same false promise–a huge return on investment.

According to the Competition Bureau, what makes crypto scams unusual is the complexity of digital finance and currency. Many Canadians don’t fully understand cryptocurrency beyond knowing that it’s a newer form of payment.

Scammers know that, officials say, and they use that lack of knowledge to deceive people.

“Cryptocurrency is a hot topic, and many want in on the action. No one is immune and anyone, including businesses, can be a victim,” authorities say.


Emergency scams

Pulling on the heartstrings of  people over the phone is an effective tactic scammers are using to get people out of their money. The conversation would involve a fraudster telling the victim that a loved one is in jail or that they’re being targeted for not paying taxes.

“Hang up the phone,” is what Peel police are requesting Mississauga and Brampton residents to do when receiving such calls.

This scam preys on vulnerability and is meant to cause upset and fear— preventing you from using logic. The fraudster may pretend to be an officer and accuse you of not paying taxes or that a family member has been arrested and that a fee must be paid.


Government benefit scams

During tax season, residents may find out that they eligible for credits or benefits — and fraudsters could use the opportunity to try and lure people into giving up banking information.

Often a text message will be sent out informing the recipient that they are eligible for a benefit.

A typical message reads like this: “The province of Ontario has sent you your catch up payment ranging between $200 and $250 by INTERACT-Transfer. Reply Y to deposit.”

People should not click on the link embedding in the text as it is a common “phishing” scam that will try and steal your personal information including your banking credentials and Social Insurance Number.

This is only one variation of the scam. There are many tax credits and benefits such as the GST/HST credit, Canada Dental Benefit, and Climate action incentive payment —and fraudsters are imitating them all.


Online marketplace scams

Everyone loves a good bargain, but if it sounds too good to be true— it probably is.

This next scam commonly found on Facebook — is listed as a so-called moving sale for big-ticket items. When people inquire about the items for sale they are told to pay the full amount or a deposit to hold the item.

Once money is sent to the seller, the buyer will never hear back from the person or the products will never be shipped out and sometimes no one shows up to the location when it’s time for pickup.

 

facebook moving scam


Pizza delivery scams

Sometime fraudsters work as a group to hustle their victims.

This scam involves one person posing as a customer and another as a driver in a parking lot. The customer approaches a stranger for help and says the driver is not accepting cash as a method of payment.

When the victim agrees to use their own debit card in exchange for cash from the customer that’s when the fraudsters know it will be a successful transaction.

Once the victim inserts their card into the machine – it copies their PIN.

The driver then hands back a fake debit card that looks like the victim’s and the pizza purchaser hands the victim the cash.

And just like that the scammers are all set to use the victims card and pin for their own purchases.

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