The Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding the public that on‑line scams are being reported daily in our area. The scam artists can contact you by text messages, social media sites, and email or by phone. Be wary of any message that suggests that you are being awarded money, that you owe money, that you have an inheritance or that you have an account that has been compromised. Talk with someone before you “click”. Some examples of recent scam reports include:
- On October 7, 2019, an Augusta Township resident reported that a suspect had assumed the identity of a business associated through an e‑mail account. The victim became suspicious when money was being demanded and spelling mistakes were noted. No money was lost in this incident.
- On October 8, a North Grenville resident was contacted by a person identifying themselves as a Service Canada employee who was concerned that the victim had numerous suspicious accounts under their name. The victim provided their Social Insurance Number (SIN) and bank account information to the scammer.
- On October 10, an Augusta Township resident received a phone call from a suspect who identified himself as a police officer. He requested that the victim provide the last 4 digits of his SIN number. The victim became suspicious and contacted the police directly.
- On October 12, a North Grenville resident reported that his e‑mail had been hacked and a scammer was demanding payment through Bitcoin. The message threatened to “wipe out” his computer if payment not received. The victim contacted the police for advice and no money was exchanged.
- On October 18, a Prescott resident provided their SIN number to a suspect who had identified themselves as an employee of CRA. The OPP would like to remind the public that this is a common scam and that the Canadian Revenue Agency will never contact you by phone, text message or e‑mail requesting personal information on funds.
On‑line romance scams also appear to be on the rise. To avoid a romance scam, be wary of an acquaintance who:
- asks for money or for cheques to be cashed
- asks for a small gift (this is sometimes a test to see if they are dealing with an ideal target)
- quickly leaves a dating site and asks to communicate in another way, usually by instant messages or email
- avoids talking on the phone and/or talks to you on a bad phone connection (this may be an attempt to disguise their voice)
- claims to have fallen in love with you after a very short period of time ‑ often a couple of weeks ‑ and without ever meeting in person
- tries to isolate you from family or friends, saying that others may not approve of the relationship and will try to break it up
- asks for provocative photos or asks you to perform suggestive acts on camera (the scammer may save this material and use it later on to extort money)
- constantly makes excuses about why they can’t meet in person, or agrees to meet in person and then cancels at the last minute
- has only a few photos of themselves and makes excuses about why they can’t share more photos with you
- claims to be a member of the military (many romance scammers impersonate soldiers and other people in positions of trust)
For further information on current scams, visit the Canadian Anti‑ Fraud Centre’s website at www.antifraudcenter.ca.