The Saskatoon Police say fraud has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and they have received more than one hundred phone calls about a specific scam.
According to police, victims have reported they’re getting calls from people claiming to be from the municipal police or the RCMP informing them they have warrants out for their arrest for money laundering, involvement in child exploitation, or theft.
The caller then requests personal information and asks for only a few numbers of the victim’s social insurance number. Then the caller claims the charges can be cleared up by making a payment through Bitcoin machines. The caller then calls the same person back at a later time and attempts to gather additional numbers of the person’s SIN.
Saskatoon Police say government employees don’t often contact members of the public by telephone and will never ask for payment through crypto-currency.
Many businesses have closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are only offering services online.
“There is already a heightened sense of fear/anxiety around the virus and investigators are urging people to exercise extreme caution, especially when dealing with money online,” said Saskatoon Police in a statement. “Fraudsters are taking advantage of people’s current emotions, adding stress and urgency to receive money and information fast.”
The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC) has up-to-date information about these and other frauds: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.
If you have been the victim of a fraud, Saskatoon Police say you can file a report online: www.saskatoonpolice.ca/onlinereporting
You can also report frauds to the CAFC.