The Grande Prairie RCMP is warning residents about a new Service Canada phone scam making the rounds across the municipality. Police say they’ve received a spike in reports from area residents who have received phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be from Service Canada and that the potential victim’s social insurance number or account has been compromised and suspended.
Grande Prairie RCMP Sgt. Shawn Graham says the caller is then given the option of legal action or paying for the release of their information. He adds the tone and speed of the call puts pressure on someone and adds to an already potentially anxious call.
“That’s what scammers work on, especially into tax season, which can be stressful on people, and scammers take advantage of that,” he says.
“They will put the pressure on people to do those things, and for people, it’s being able to hang up the phone and recognize that these are scams.”
Graham says this particular scam also has signs of phone number spoofing, which means fraudsters are manipulating the outgoing phone number so it mirrors the number of the genuine service or a local phone number.
“It’s to show the person it’s authentic, but it’s not, it’s just one of the tactics they use to get people to believe what they’re doing,” he says.
“If it is someone calling, take note of the information and disconnect from the call… don’t share any information with the caller, like your name, social insurance, banking information.”
Graham says if you have legitimate concerns regarding your information being compromised, the government agency through a trusted source, like the official website for Service Canada, and enquire if the information has been compromised.