The Toronto Police Service’s Coordinated Cyber Centre has issued a public alert about a fraudulent payback scam along with important advice on how to avoid being duped by them.
Police say fake online fraud payback companies are targeting victims of fraud by claiming to be able to get their money back by investigating the scam in question with the help of local law enforcement. The companies extract further funds from the victims by requiring a substantial payment upfront, while providing false promises and hope to the victims.
These companies’ websites appear professional in nature, with pictures of named employees, and client-written and video testimonials. The fake companies ask for an upfront fee in order to start their investigation, with a promise to provide a detailed report of their investigation for the client to pass over to their local law enforcement agency. They then provide the victims with detailed reports of their investigation that appears legitimate, however, these reports have no factual or evidentiary value to them, and often use complicated graphs and financial jargon that they presume too difficult for their clients to understand, and are completely false.
How to recognize these Fraud Payback websites?
- Police say they are using: stock images with fake identities
- The same stock images for different companies but providing people in the photos with different identities
- The same testimonials between companies from fake individuals
- Identical phone numbers shared between websites
- Identifying other Fraud Payback websites as scams, all while displaying the same red-flags as above
How to verify an online company’s legitimacy:
- Search the company name on a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) and also search using the term “scam”
- Pay attention to the “About Us” or “Contact Us” sections, more specifically the phone numbers or addresses. You can search the phone number on a search engine and see if it has been used for other similar websites
- Copy the text of a testimonial, and paste it into a search engine to see if it was used for another website/company
If you or someone you know is a victim of a fraud, please contact the Toronto Police Service 416-808-2222, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com, and be wary of online companies that make promises to return your money.