Phone scam uses RCMP identity to trick victims

Oceanside RCMP alerts residents to scam in which callers threaten "pay or get arrested" scenario

  • Sep. 1, 2016 1:00 p.m.

If you believe you’re getting a threatening call from the RCMP, you’re actually not.

That’s the message shared by Oceanside RCMP this week in response to a sophisticated phone scam in which the detachment’s phone number has appeared in the call display of several local residents.

“Residents have stated that they have received calls from someone trying to claim there is an arrest warrant out for them,” RCMP spokesperson Jesse Foreman said in a written release. “What’s more concerning is that the Oceanside RCMP number of 250-248-6111 has been displayed on their caller ID when they receive these harassing calls, leading them to think that the call might actually be legitimate.

“Please be assured that the RCMP will never call and threaten you with a ‘pay or get arrested’ scenario.”

Foreman said the callers are particularly aggressive and have used reasons including unpaid taxes or immigration issues to explain why the supposed arrest warrant is outstanding.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, these scams are becoming increasingly common throughout North America with the increased use of caller ID-spoofing software, which disguises the number from which the call is actually coming.

This popular tool allows scammers to disguise their calls, as the call will appear to be coming from local or familiar numbers to trick people into answering the phone and trusting the caller.

The anti-fraud centre shares the following tips on how you can protect yourself from scams of this kind:

• Don’t trust your call display. It may say “Police” or “ABC” , but in reality, it is actually a scammer. It does not matter what the caller ID says, you cannot always trust it;

• If you get a call from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request; and

• Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social insurance number (SIN), mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.

If you have responded to a fraudulent communication and have become a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at info@antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

—Submitted by Oceanside RCMP