RCMP issue warning after two people fall for scam calls in North Okanagan

Scammers pose as cops

Vernon RCMP warn scammers posing as police after two North Okanagan residents were conned out of thousands of dollars.

Police recently received two separate reports of victims being tricked into purchasing and turning over thousands of dollars worth of gift cards to a person claiming to be a police officer.

One victim lost $3,500, and the second $2,000.

In both cases, the phone number was being "spoofed" or altered to display a trusted phone number – in these cases, the Enderby and Armstrong RCMP offices' non-emergency lines.

The fraudster even provided a fake name, rank and badge number.

“Police officers will never request monetary payments, ask for gift cards, or attempt to solicit any financial information over the telephone, or email,” says Vernon RCMP spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski. “If someone contacts you, identifies as a police officer, and asks for any of these things or threatens you in any way, end the call immediately. If the person keeps pressuring you or threatens you, it’s not legitimate and you are doing the right thing by hanging up."

  • Never assume the caller is who they say they are simply because they have some basic info such as your address or birthdate.
  • If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you are talking to.
  • Never give out any personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers.
  • Never pay a debt by crypto-currencies such as bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others.

“If you have not provided personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact your local police,” adds Terleski.

Residents are encouraged to report frauds to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

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