Very creepy and realistic scam hitting Ontario currently

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Published July 9, 2024 at 2:19 pm

text scam family member ontario

A text scam now circulating in Ontario uses real names of family or friends.

The fraud looks like the common “wrong number” or “buddy” scam where the recipient receives a message that seems to be from a friend. This message is typically a simple such as “Did you receive it?” or “I won’t make it today.”

With messages like these, the scammer is likely looking to engage the recipient in a conversation and eventually lure the person into a fraudulent investment scheme, such as a cryptocurrency scam.

A similar text scam now circulating in Ontario appears to have the same goal but it’s more frightening because the fraudster has personal details about the recipient.

One person in the Mississauga area reported receiving a message signed by her husband but it wasn’t from him.

“[Recipient’s real name], free at the moment?” the text read from an unknown number. “[Recipient’s husband’s real name].”

The message is clearly not from her husband as it reads “This sender is not in your contact list.”

scam text from family ontario

There is at least one other report of this type of scam, according to a post on Reddit.

In this instance, the recipient got a text using her real name from someone purporting to be her aunt using her real aunt’s name.

“It’s clear to me it’s a scam attempt, none of it makes any sense and my wife did unfortunately respond to one of those “wrong number” scam attempt texts a few weeks ago so I’m sure her number is out there,” the husband of the victim wrote in the Reddit post.

He speculated the scammer got the names from Facebook. Other people thought the names could come from popular name and address search websites.

Either way, the text was “unnerving,” the husband said.

In the Ontario case, it is not clear what the scammers want or how they got personal information. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

On their website, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre notes scammers are looking for ways to get banking information.

“Cryptocurrency scams and fraud attempt to steal money, personal and financial information,” they write. “Fraudsters will offer you cryptocurrency buy-ins promising a high rate of return and in a short amount of time. Instead, the victim will lose their investment and sometimes their personal and financial information.”

It could also be similar to the “Grandparent scam” where a caller pretends to be the grandchild and tricks an elderly person into sending money.

Experts suggest not engaging with these types of messages. Don’t provide personal information to an unknown person.

For more information on current scams and fraud or to make a report, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud website.

Lead photo: Porapak Apichodilok

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