EDITORIAL: Internet scammers abundant

Sometimes they come door-to-door offering inexplicably cheap labour.

Often they’ll use malicious software or computer hacking to gain key information from unsuspecting residents.

And, even in this technological age, sometimes they’ll just call up in hopes of getting someone with a warm heart.

This month Oak Bay police were notified of a successful Canada Revenue Agency scam where the victim lost $1,000.

The CRA scam makes the rounds repeatedly. Someone calls and says the owes back taxes and could be arrested. In this case, the victim was convinced to purchase gift cards and provide the caller with the codes.

Scammers are everywhere and guaranteed they’ll prey on the rapidly approaching Christmas spirit.

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre estimates that less than 5 per cent of mass marketing fraud is ever reported.

The CAFC is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on such matters as mass marketing fraud, advance fee fraud, Internet fraud and identification theft complaints.

If it sounds too good to be true –it’s not true.

Beware of Recovery Scams. Victims of fraud are often targeted a second or third time with the promise of recovering money previously lost. Always do your due diligence and never send money to recover money.

Stay current. Advise the CAFC, financial institutions and law enforcement of any updates.

Be pro-active. Educate family, friends, neighbours and co-workers on mass marketing frauds. You may prevent someone else from becoming a victim.

Oak Bay police recommend anyone receiving any call requesting immediate payment write down the details, take some time to think about it and call them if in doubt.

And if you do fall victim, do what the resident did earlier this month – report it to the police. This ensures they’re aware of what scams are targeting Oak Bay residents and businesses.

Also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501.

In fact, be proctive, arm yourself ahead of scams this winter. Visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.