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Text, email and phone scams all targeting Grande Prairie residents

It can happen to anyone at anytime. That’s the message from the Crime Prevention team as they work on developing awareness of different frauds and scams people could fall victim to during Fraud Awareness Month.

Frauds are taking a variety of forms now so awareness is key. Public Educator Cheryl George says one of their own employees recently fell victim to an email fraud that was asking her to update her billing information with her phone company.

“They’re getting so good. The scammers are getting so good at copying logos and getting everything done. But if it something you don’t normally do, double check with that.”

George says the staffer soon realized that account wasn’t paid via credit card and she was able to cancel the card before any fraudulent transactions. While the email scams are prominent there are also a lot of issues with text message scams that may contain a “phishing” link in them.

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George adds she’s also been the target of the so called “one ring scam” and says she had family and friends receiving calls from faraway countries like Guinea and Nigeria.

“If you call that number back they somehow, and I’m not sure how they do it, but they somehow rack up charges and get money. I’m not sure how it works but it is definitely one of those things that is happening and people need to be aware.”

The CRA scam is another one that seems to circulate all year but George says is especially dangerous as tax season approaches.

“The biggest thing to remember is CRA will never email you. We did hear of one recently where somebody got something in the mail from what they thought was the CRA and it wasn’t. So, the biggest thing again is check. If you have to sit on hold for… and I know CRA can be a bit longer. But if you have to be on hold and say, is this for real? Is this legit? It’s worth it. Otherwise you could be out a lot of money.”

A gifting circle seems to have died out according to George. She says that is because things tend to be cyclical and people are becoming more aware but that doesn’t meant that they won’t pop up again.

George says anyone who is the victim of any type of fraudulent activity should contact the RCMP, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the Competition Bureau. George says even if you aren’t a victim but you’ve seen a scam in action those are also good contact to use. The city marks Crime Prevention Week May 12 to 19 which will be kicked off with a shred it event at Centre 2000.

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