Niagara Police warn of latest scam with callers pretending to be bank reps

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Published August 11, 2021 at 8:42 pm

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Niagara Police are alerting residents to the latest phone scam – this one with callers claiming to be bank representatives.

Police say the scam artists call victims, saying there appears to be fraudulent activity on their account. They then ask the victim for access to his/her computer to review the bogus activity.

Once they are in, the scammer installs programs such as Team Viewer or Ultra Viewer onto their hard drive.

Then they request money in order to pursue the “suspect” making unauthorized purchases on the account. However, they ask the victim to buy gift cards.

Once the victim does, the scammer then asks the victim to scratch the back of the cards so they can use the funds from the cards without physically having them.

Niagara Police warn, “Always be wary of anyone asking for gift cards, Bitcoin or anything unusual as a form of payment or financial assistance. Scammers are able to spoof emails and phone numbers so they can pretend to be someone the victim knows.”

Here are a few reminders to keep Niagara residents safe:

  • Never purchase gift cards as a form of payment.
  • If you receive a phone call, email or text message instructing you to purchase gift cards, this is a scam.
  • If you purchase the gift cards and are told to scratch the backside and send codes, this is a scam.
  • Remember that scammers are able to “spoof” the phone number on the Caller ID, so it may appear that the caller is your financial institution, Canada Revenue Agency, or your local police service, when it actually is not.
  • Talk to someone you trust before making any decisions related to purchases of this nature. In most cases, once you tell your story to someone else you will recognize that it doesn’t sound right. This may help to prevent you from falling victim to a scam.
  • Remember why they are called gift cards – they are to be used as a gift for someone you care about, not as a form of currency to pay outstanding debts, taxes, utilities or daily living expenses.

If you have been a victim of a scam and experienced a financial loss, please call the Niagara Regional Police Service non-emergency number at 905-688-4111, dial option 2 and ask for “dispatch” to file a report.

If you received one of these calls/messages but did not experience a financial loss, please report by calling Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501 or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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