Police services in Manitoba are reporting increases in a variety of phone scams.
The Winnipeg Police Service says it’s seeing a spike in reports of scams where fraudsters impersonate someone from the Canada Revenue Agency or another government department, and ask for personal information like social insurance numbers.
Many of the calls advise the person their social insurance number has been compromised and ask them to confirm their number to avoid being arrested or charged.
“Red flags should go up when you’re getting that kind of very strong and pointed [phone call], or threatening you in any kind of way that you’re going to be arrested if you don’t provide your personal information,” Const. Rejeanne Caron said.
Police in Brandon are also seeing an increase in phone scams, many of which involve callers pretending to be police officers themselves.
The scammers are even using software so the Brandon Police Service’s number appears on call display.
“It’s definitely concerning because we’re a smaller community. We have around 50,000 people, so we have a very unique relationship with the public and they trust us,” said Sgt. Kirby Sararas, a public information officer with the Brandon Police Service.
“So that’s very concerning, because of that level of trust they have in us and our number is so recognizable.”
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says if you believe you have been victimized by a scammer, report it to them and local police. If you receive a call like this, never give your personal information, and hang up the phone.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre also says in 2018 they received over 22,000 reports of phone scams related to the Canada Revenue Agency and Citizenship & Immigration Canada. That resulted in over 1,400 victims and a loss of $6.4 million.
The centre says that number dropped in 2019, because scammers were impersonating Service Canada, the Department of Justice, and other government departments.
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