Fraud Awareness Friday wraps up Crime Prevention Week

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As Crime Prevention Week concludes, Kingston Police have released details on popular scams in the area. If you have been affected by fraud, or have information on any scam, contact Kingston Police – details below.

Canada Revenue Agency Scam:

One of the most popular scams being perpetrated across Ontario, with Kingston being no exception, is the Canada Revenue Agency scam. Kingston Police have observed a sharp increase in the number of phone scams being reported by Kingstonians by scammers purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. According to a release from Kingston Police, these telephone calls are being received by members of the public from a variety of phone numbers, which are being “spoofed” so that they appear on Caller ID as originating from local (area code 613), anonymous, and United States numbers.

When the phone is answered, an automated message indicates that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the individual who has been contacted, according to Kingston Police. The automated message then prompts the individual to press “1” to speak with a live officer to resolve the matter. Almost immediately the scammer on the other end of the line then authoritatively asks for your Social Insurance Number and other personal information. Kingston Police say money is eventually requested by the scammers after threatening legal action and incarceration.

On previous occasions unknowing members of the public have reported being defrauded of thousands of dollars, according to the report. Kingston Police officers and Fraud Unit detectives are not exempt from these scammers attempted ploys. Kingston Police say officers have been contacted numerous times by scammers and told that they would be immediately arrested if they did not comply with their demands.

After advising the scammers that they had contacted a police officer who was aware of their fraudulent activities the scammers continued their façade and read off of a script in an attempt to still fool authorities. Police say this clearly shows that the scammers are not easily dissuaded and will put a high degree of pressure on unsuspecting victims in an attempt to get money from them.

Police say scammers have been cyclically calling various regions of Ontario and, after a short hiatus, have now once again turned their focus toward Kingston and the east region.

Kingston Police ask you to remember:

Romance Scams:

Most people want to report to police when they have been the victim of a fraud.  Except in the case of Romance Scams.

Kingston Police say Romance Scams cost victims large sums of money and their emotional well-being. 

A Romance Scam starts on an online dating app. Scammers seek out individuals (both men and women) online and initiate a relationship with them, according to the report. Scammers will spend several months, even years, in relationships with individuals until they gain their trust. Once a sense of trust has been established scammers concoct stories that play on the emotions of the victim, police say.

Common stories have included, “I’ve been in a car accident and need money for the medical bill”, “I have a lot of money tied up in customs and need to pay the taxes in order to take the money and spend our lives together”, or “I want to come see you and need to buy a plane ticket, or pay immigration fees”. Kingston Police say scammers frequently pretend to be military or workers off shore to justify not being able to travel and see the victim or to explain being away from online activities for days. They also use these professions to validate the financial requests as they fit into the stories. 

Too often victims become intimate in their online relationship and blackmail can occur, according to the report. 

The reality of this type of fraud is victims allowed someone to take advantage of them, and are embarrassed by their vulnerability. Police say these frauds do not get reported very often, but occur frequently, and in some cases can cost victims their life savings. 

Kingston Police remind you to protect yourself and be aware. Do not send money to anyone you have met online, especially if you have never seen them in person. Before you send that money call the police and ask the questions. It’s worth the call, as it is very likely you may never see your money again. If you have been defrauded of any money due to being the victim of a romance scam, or have information in regards to this scam please contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660. Alternatively you can also complete an online report.

Rental Scam:

Kingston Police are warning the public about active scams that have been occurring in our community involving rental houses and apartments. Property rentals are being fraudulently listed on classified sites such as Kijiji and once the scammer is contacted by a prospective renter they pretend to be the actual property owner and ask for a deposit for first and last month’s rent, according to the report. Between $1000 and $2000 is typically requested of the potential renter and once this money is paid online the scammer is never heard from again.

Police are reminding the public to never send money to a supposed property owner until the actual rental home or apartment is viewed both inside and out. Also, if there is a “for sale” or “for rent” sign mounted outside, call that contact directly.

If you have been defrauded of any money or have information in regards to this recent scam please contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660. Alternatively you can also complete an online report.

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