Hello, everyone.

Dealing with scam e-mails and phone calls has become a “normal” part of our lives and unfortunately the frequency and expertise of those initiating them is on the rise.  Several colleagues have been recipients of the phone call version in the past few weeks and the scams have purported to be either Revenue Canada (reporting you have a refund coming or threatening that you owe back tax) or someone calling on behalf of a relative who’s “in trouble” and needs your financial aid.  The latest twist in the “relative in trouble” is “a friend in trouble”.  Such a call a few days ago was supposedly from a police officer advising that said friend (whose full name was given) and two others had their car stopped and searched; that marijuana had been found and the three had been arrested.  Bail of $10,000.00 in cash would be required to free the friend and would be refunded if the person were found to be innocent.  The “officer” put a person on the phone who was supposedly the friend who tearfully apologized and begged for help. It’s a touching scenario and one that plays on emotions to have you agree before realizing anything is amiss.

 Please be careful in answering any “unknown” or “private” caller.  If you do answer and are told it’s a police office calling, immediately ask for their badge number and name and say you’ll call back after checking with 911.  They’ll be gone in a jiffy! The police do not make phone calls about bail or any other monies to be paid.  Another sign of fraud is any request to come up with cash which will be picked up from you later the same day, and a request or warning that you mustn’t tell anyone.  

The following guidelines may help as well…