The Kitimat RCMP are concerned over a recent spike in reports of people in the area falling victim to scams.
A variety of scams and frauds, ranging from credit card theft to phishing schemes by phone, have robbed some Kitimatians of tens of thousands of dollars over the past month.
Some familiar ones involve phone calls from a source purporting to be the Canada Revenue Agency demanding payment of deliquent taxes.
Another recent scam was promising hefty returns on an investment plan.
In other cases credit card numbers have been acquired in some fashion and been used to make false purchases, in one case a number was used to purchase thousands of dollars of air fare tickets.
In another case, a false Craigslist ad for an apartment rental led to a person sending money to a supposed landlord who, it turns out, had no such apartment for rent.
Corporal Chris Manseau of the Kitimat RCMP says while in past posts he’s seen a number of scams against vulnerable seniors, in these recent cases in Kitimat — seven in all so far — it’s from people of various age groups.
Manseau says he’s unsure what to make of the recent spike in files, unsure what it is that made fraudsters recently so successful.
He says if anyone in Kitimat receives a suspicious phone call or anything to do with finances to not offer any money or personal information of any kind.
“Canada Revenue is not going to cold call you and ask for money,” he said. “They’re going to send you dozens and dozens of letters first.”
People should only do business through reputable and known organizations, he said.
If a person has questions they can call the local RCMP for advice as well.
And while he hasn’t heard of people falling for the “Windows computer tech support” scam in Kitimat he also recommends people simply hang up the phone when they call. That is the scam from people claiming to be technical support for the Windows operating system, asking for money to clear an individual’s computer of viruses.
Manseau also encourages people to of course come in and make a report if they believe they have been the victim of a scam, a task which he acknowledges may be hard for people dealing with a financial loss.
“If you’ve been the victim of a scam, we use our discretion. Please let us know. Anything that we can do to help or track these people down,” he said. “We know that there’s more people out there who have fallen victim.”