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Brant County OPP issues scam warning for residents

Brant OPPBrant County OPP issues scam warning for residents

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in the County of Brant are warning residents to be on high alert after responding to five separate reports of fraudulent telephone and online scams that occurred in the area.

In one incident, an unknown suspect called and imitated the victim’s adult child, claiming they were being criminally charged for an accident and needed money to pay for the damages. A second person claiming to be the child’s lawyer, provided instructions on how to send to the money.

The victim then asked the so-called lawyer to call back shortly and hung up before calling their child to confirm that no accident had occurred and that the call was indeed a scam.  

The second incident occurred when a victim was shopping online for a digital service, and called what they thought was a legitimate phone number to initiate an exchange with the unknown suspect.

At one point during the exchange, the victim allowed the suspect to have remote access to their mobile phone. The victim later realized this was an error on their part and contacted police. While the victim did not lose any money, they have had to take preventative measures to protect themselves from identity theft.

The third incident that occurred was an online purchase scam which resulted in a loss of $100.

The victim had found an item they wanted to purchase on an online social media application and contacted the seller. After coming to an agreement on the sale of the item, the victim sent a $100 deposit by electronic transfer and was given a fake address to pick up the item.

OPP note that for online transactions, there are three Project Safe Trade parking spots within the County to help facilitate the safe exchange of money and goods.

During the fourth incident, the victim received calls to their home indicating that their bank account had been compromised and were requested to provide their credit card information. They were then advised there were several loans and debt in their name which needed to be paid off.

The victims lost a total of $6000 that they had sent to Bitcoin wallet addresses before contacting their bank provider and realized they were scammed.

In the fifth report, the victim was contacted through an online social networking application regarding cryptocurrency investments. The victim was promised significant profits and the ability to withdraw their money at any time.

The victim invested a smaller amount of money at first, and an online account showed that they were making a large profit that they were able to withdraw a small portion from.

The victim then continued to invest more money over the course of one month and the account continued to show large profits. When the victim attempted to withdraw all of their money, they were requested to pay taxes and fees for the withdrawal.

The suspect provided various excuses for the money not being transferred including legal issues, FBI investigations, and technical issues between financial institutions. The victim lost a total of approximately $100,000.

To avoid falling victim to scams, Police recommend following these tips:

  • Don’t give out your personal information (name, address, DOB, SIN, banking credentials).
  • Never permit a stranger to have remote access to your devices.
  • Don’t accept online friend requests from people you do not know.
  • Don’t invest your money in platforms provided by people you don’t know.
  • If any agency requests payment by cryptocurrency or gift cards, it is a scam.
  • Protect your online accounts.
  • Avoid sending money to a person you haven’t met.
  • Don’t respond to text messages from phone numbers you do not recognize.

To learn more about fraud and cybercrime prevention and how to safeguard yourself and your loved ones, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

Brant County OPP continues to run community information sessions on fraud, and community groups are encouraged to contact their local OPP detachment should they want to arrange a presentation.

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