Have you ever had an incoming call on your home phone or cellphone where the display says it’s from the Canada Revenue Agency, Peel Regional Police or even your own personal number? You’re not alone. Scammers are using technology to disguise their calls in order to trick people into thinking that they are receiving a call from a reputable organization. This is also known as Caller ID spoofing.
Once the scammer gets you talking, they try many different ways to trick you into revealing or confirming personal or financial information.
There have been reports made to police communications centre in the past, indicating that people have received a call from what appeared to be the Peel Police non-emergency number, 905-453-3311. When they answered the phone, the person on the other end said that a family member had been arrested and that they were being held at the police station. The scammer then told them that to pay an amount of money to have their family member released.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence related to frauds and scams.
The CAFC website list three main tips on how you can protect yourself from Call ID Spoofing:
- Don’t trust your call display. It may say “Police” or “ABC”, but in reality, it is actually a scammer. It does not matter what the caller ID says, you cannot trust it.
- If you get a call from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.
- Education is the key. You can learn about the various types of scams that are happening in Canada by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or you can also call them at 1-888-495-8501 to report any scams where you were not a victim.
Peel Police Crime Prevention Services offers free presentations, including one specifically on frauds and scams. If you would like an officer to come speak with your community group, call them at 905-453-3311 x 4021. -CINEWS