Saturday, March 20, 2010

OPP Reminds you to Protect Yourself from Telemarketing/Email Fraud

March is Fraud Prevention Month

ORILLIA, Ontario, March 18, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), is notifying the public of a recent increase in the reported number of fraud attempts using the traditional "Emergency Scam".

The Emergency Scam has operated for years as a telemarketing scam throughout North America. Fraudsters contact potential victims while posing as a family member or friend in urgent need of cash. Often the scenario involves an accident or arrest while travelling abroad, with a request that cash be sent through a money transfer company, such as Western Union or Money Gram. In the past, fraudsters have successfully targeted grandparents, giving the scam its nickname "the Grandparents Scam".

In a recent variation of this scam, compromised contact lists from hijacked email accounts are used to send the potential victim an "urgent" email request for money from a friend or relative with whom they have a correspondence. Common themes continue to be hospitalization or imprisonment while away from home. The friend or relative is unaware that their account has been used to send out these requests to everyone on their contact list.

According to CAFC statistics for Ontario, in 2009 fraudsters using the Emergency Scam made 225 failed attempts but were successful 61 times which resulted in the victims being defrauded over $230,000.

By the end of February this year, there have been a reported 96 failed attempts but 23 successful scams reported in Ontario. Fraudsters have garnered a total in excess of $88,000 from Ontarians thus far in 2010. The CAFC estimates that these frauds reported to police only reflect 5% of the actual number of cases.

The OPP urges people to verify any and all requests for money, and to report suspected fraud to the CAFC at 888-495-8501.

FRAUD...Recognize it...Report it...Stop it.

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