Scammers are now pretending to be the Kelowna RCMP
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:38PM PST
VANCOUVER – Police in Kelowna, B.C. are the latest to report their detachment phone number being used in a scam.
The RCMP said someone is identifying themselves as a police officer working for the detachment, and telling the scam victims their personal information has been used in criminal activity.
Because the scammer is spoofing the number, the call appears to be coming from the Kelowna RCMP.
They then ask the victim to confirm their personal information over the phone, which the victim is told will help an investigation into money laundering.
"We can confirm that a police officer did not make this telephone call and that this is not how the RCMP investigates these types of crimes," the RCMP said in a statement Thursday.
Cpl. Meghan Foster said victims have fallen for the scam, providing their social insurance numbers and banking information to the scammers.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of identity theft related to the scam so far, she said.
"We want to prevent people from having to make those reports."
Members of the public are advised to be wary of unsolicited emails, calls and letters that ask for personal or banking information. The RCMP recommends periodically checking credit reports and bank statements, and reporting any irregularities immediately.
The detachment is not the first to be used by scammers. Last month, the Vancouver Police Department's non-emergency line was being used as part of a Canada Revenue Agency scam.
The caller would tell the victim they were from the CRA, and ask for the number for their local police department. They'd then hang up, then the victim would receive a call appearing to be from that police department, the VPD said.
Scammers often pose as CRA employees. Last year, police in Port Moody recorded what happened when a fraudster tried to target a constable.
Another ongoing scam targeting Lower Mainland residents involves "virtual kidnapping," in which a scammer alters caller ID to make it appear a victim is getting a call from police. He or she is then told a similar story – they've been implicated in a money laundering investigation – sometimes asked to send money, then told to send photos or videos.
The fraudster will then contact the victim's family, suggest the victim has been kidnapped and demand a ransom.