Police warn of fraud attempts involving texts, phone calls
Quebec provincial police offer advice for people to protect themselves against scams
Quebec provincial police are warning people to be on alert after receiving complaints of two possible telephone and texting scams.
“Several citizens have reported to us that they have received text messages in English on their cellphones with a link to click to obtain an ‘Anti-Inflation Benefit from CRA,’ (amount to be received to counter inflation and from the Canada Revenue Agency,” said information officer Sgt. Nancy Fournier, in a news release.
Complainants told police the message contained personal information about them such as their name, date of birth and social insurance number.
Fournier warned “this is not the way government agencies operate” and said the messages are actually attempts to defraud the person and gain access to their bank accounts.
In a second scheme, people have received telephone calls from someone claiming to work at a financial institution informing them they have been the victim of a fraud.
The caller advises the person to put their credit and debit cards into an envelope and that an employee of the financial institution will come by to pick them up.
The caller keeps the person on the line while a second person arrives at their door to pick up the envelope.
In some cases, Fournier said, the name of the financial institution might even appear on the phone and the complainant will be provided a fake phone number to call to verify.
“These calls are fraudulent. Financial institutions do not communicate with citizens for the purpose of recovering bank and debit cards with your passwords,” he said.
Police advise people to protect themselves by not clicking on links or downloading attachments contained in unsolicited text messages.
Check messages for spelling errors, and be aware government or law enforcement agencies will never contact you to offer funds by email or e-transfer.
“If you receive a call from someone you don’t know, always ask for that person’s name and the company they represent,” and then find the official number for that service and call it to verify the request that was addressed to you, she said.
And never hand over your credit or debit cards to someone who comes to your door.
Anyone who suspect they’re a victim of fraud can contact local police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
According to the anti-fraud centre, so far this year it has received 75,474 reports of fraud involving more than 47,000 victims, and more than $420 million has been lost to fraud this year, up from $383 million for all of 2021.