Over the last few months, Red Deer RCMP have received numerous reports from local residents reporting fraudulent phone calls and requests. Reports to police say Red Deer residents are being contacted by scammers, who claim to be from a wide range of businesses and government agencies.
Some of the most common are:
- STARS Air Ambulance
- Financial institutions and banks
- Other Government organizations
- Fire extinguisher companies
There are many variations of the scam being used. Scammers often tell the victim that they owe money or need to pay for a service, a legal issue, or investment opportunity. The scammer tells the victim that in order to settle the bill the victim needs to purchase a certain amount of gift cards. Once the victim purchases the cards, they are instructed to tell the scammer the numbers listed on the back of the card. Another variation involves the scammer telling victims that they need to go to their nearest bitcoin ATMs and send them bitcoin.
Typically the scammer will tell the victim not to discuss the situation with anyone else, they may even ask to communicate using an encrypted message application such: WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal.
Fraudulent calls can also come from a phone number that appears legitimate, they do this by using computer or phone applications to change their name and number; this is called ‘caller ID spoofing’. ‘Caller ID spoofing’ is also used in ‘grandparent scams’ where the fraudster portrays themselves as a friend or family member requesting money so that they can get out of a dire situation.
Red Deer RCMP would like to remind the community that legitimate companies and government agencies will never ask you to settle a debt or pay a bill through the purchase of gift cards or bitcoin.
To learn more about current scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/
If you have been a victim of fraud or attempted fraud please contact Red Deer RCMP at 403-406-2200. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store. To report crime online, or for access to RCMP news and information, download the Alberta RCMP app through Apple or Google Play.