The Cranbrook RCMP has recently received a spike in people losing money through gift card purchases, as well as the “grandparent” scam.
In recent days, Cranbrook RCMP has fielded several calls from local people who have been told by different agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency, that they owe money and that they will soon be arrested if they do not comply with what the caller is demanding.
The caller then tells the person to go buy gift cards, provide them with the numbers and PINS, and that if they do not buy the gift cards they will end up in jail.
Several stores in the area have seen an upswing in people buying large amounts of gift cards, RCMP say — so much so that stores have put a limit on the amount they will sell at one time.
“Unfortunately people are falling for this scam”, says Cst Katie Forgeron. “No Government agency or reputable company will ever ask anyone to pay with gift cards in lieu of their fines. We are asking anyone who receives these types of calls to hang up on the caller. It is a scam”.
The other scam that is prevalent in the community is the so-called grandparent scam. The caller says they are the grandchild and that they are either in jail or have been in an accident and need money.
“Grandparents want to make sure their grandchildren are taken care of and may fall for this scam. If you receive a call from someone purporting to be a relative, take the time to ask identifying questions to ensure they are in fact related and not just someone trying to take your hard earned money,” adds Cst Forgeron.
If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, note the phone number showing on call display and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, toll free at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.