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Scammers attempting to bilk Okanagan residents of their cash

The fact March is fraud prevention month hasn't stopped scammers from making the rounds.

"Earlier this month, the Kelowna RCMP was informed of an attempted Nigerian Letter Scam involving a local business," said Const. Kris Clark.

This letter scam typically begins once the target has received a letter with a request for urgent business transaction. In addition to stressing the urgency and confidentiality of a transaction, the writer will also stress the importance of trust and honesty in order to make the reader believe that there is a validity to the letter.

For instance, they will commonly claim to be a doctor and/or a corporate entity.

"In this particular case, the letter was received by fax from a doctor," said Clark.  "The doctor requested that a pair of credit cards be charged for services rendered and then a portion be returned via Western Union. The target recognized the fraud immediately and didn't fall for it."

More recently, a West Kelowna woman received an email from Exxon Mobil Malaysia stating that her email had been chosen randomly as a winner of a $500,000 prize.

"This type of fraud is called phishing as the scammer sends out emails to multiple addresses in hopes of getting a bite," said Clark.

Phishing typically involves the creation of email messages and Web pages that are replicas of existing, legitimate sites and businesses.  These Web sites and emails are used to trick users into submitting personal, financial, or password data.

If you receive an unsolicited email indicating you've won a prize that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not reply to the email and never give out your personal information.

For more information on frauds and scams, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online.

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