Whether it involved knock-off electronics, Bitcoin or fraudulent bank drafts, Saanich police have seen several recurring scams lately and are reminding residents to be on alert.
March is National Fraud Prevention month and as the event draws to a close, the Saanich Police Department is sharing a list of recent scams that have been reported in the municipality to help residents protect themselves and their loved ones.
One reported fraud involved a victim who purchased TV projectors from scammers selling them out of a van. The individual later realized the electronics were “low-quality knock-offs,” not what had been advertised. Saanich police say this is an ongoing scam that they have been aware of for several years and it has involved a variety of electronics – from televisions to sound systems.
“Purchase your electronics from certified retailers and if the deal is too good to be true, then it usually is,” explained Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer. Customers are advised to check that the item in the box matches what’s on the label before purchasing.
Another scam that’s been reported several times in Saanich involves fraudsters contacting their victims to demand that they purchase Bitcoin with money taken out of their bank accounts and then send the currency to them. Saanich police say the scammers usually include step-by-step instructions on how to purchase and send the Bitcoin at a machine and often use aggressive threats to intimidate victims.
In a similar vein, the commonly reported deposit-withdraw-transfer fraud involves the scammer contacting their target – by phone or email – and sending them funds in the form of an invalid bank draft. The fraudster then asks for some of the money back, but because the bank draft isn’t real, the victim ends up sending their own money.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as of Feb. 28, Canadians had reported nearly 11,300 scams, some 7,646 had fallen victim and $34.6 million was reportedly lost.
Police noted many of these scams originate overseas but should still be reported to local police. To report fraud in Saanich, call the police department’s non-emergency line at 250-475-4321.
Frauds can also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which also provides a list of resources for anyone looking to protect themselves. To make a report, call 1-888-495-8501 or visit antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca to report online.
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