Full disclosure: My social insurance number and I are on the country’s most wanted list.
Though I may be bad, I am not unique. Felons abound in these parts, I’ve learned; many have received the same phone calls I have.
The call I received three days in a row was from “the legal department of Service Canada.” It states there will be enforcement action against my SIN. So, before I get arrested, I’m told to “kindly press one and speak to an officer now.”
The folks at real Service Canada have heard a lot about this scam. They’ve even heard that the scammers can change the number they’re calling from, so it appears a police department is calling.
A check with Salmon Arm RCMP reveals the scammers even try the arrest scam on those who do the arresting.
“I myself often receive notices/messages on my RCMP work phone indicating that I will soon be arrested for failure to pay taxes/tickets/etc. I simply hang up,” states Sgt. Scott Lachapelle.
For myself, I also recently received a scam text from “Canada Post,” telling me my package has been sent back and directing me to tap on an innocent-looking link to confirm the shipment.
Lachapelle says new scams come to light every day – so many it’s difficult to keep track of them all.
Identity thieves using the phone are often looking for: full name, date of birth, social insurance number, full address, mother’s maiden name, user-name and password for online services, driver’s licence number, personal identification number (PIN), credit card information , bank account number or signature.
The best advice, says Lachapelle, is to never reveal any personal information to anyone who calls, because you don’t really know who is calling you.
But, if you suspect or know you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provide personal or financial information, you should: 1. Contact local police and file a report. 2. Contact your financial institution and credit card company. 3. Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. That’s Equifax Canada, toll free at 1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion Canada, toll free at 1- 877-525-3823. 4. Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.