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Beware the latest fraud : the ‘prize’ scam

A fraud scam has surfaced in Yarmouth which seems to be a new spin on an old scheme. Yarmouth Town RCMP’s General Investigation Section is investigating a matter where a woman was contacted and told that she had won a significant amount of prize money. All she was required to do in order to claim the money was pay the fees and taxes. She was asked to provide her account number so that money could be deposited into her account, then she was asked to withdraw funds and send money via wire transfer to various bank accounts across Canada and the U.S. The woman has been defrauded of nearly $10,000, none of which is recoverable. Staff at the woman’s bank flagged the transactions and told her she should talk to the police.

Nova Scotia RCMP has investigated several similar fraud schemes. These include cases where a fraudster:

  • offers to take over your computer under the pretext that it requires repair;
  • tell you that you’ve won money when you haven’t entered a contest;
  • tell you a relative has been injured and needs your financial assistance; and
  • tell you your accounts have been hacked and your local bank is part of the problem.

Similar characteristics among many fraud scams:

  • Caller is often very impatient for you to comply
  • Some sense of urgency
  • Callers try to keep you on the phone
  • You may be threatened if you don’t comply
  • Caller doesn’t want you to check with anyone before you comply with their request
  • Caller tells you not to tell anyone
  • You are asked to send money via wire transfer or purchase gift cards and provide them to the caller

Many of these strategies result in the victim of the scam sending money to the suspects in a way that is not recoverable. Despite the RCMP’s efforts to identify the suspects in these cases, it has proven challenging.

Nova Scotia RCMP is asking the public to be critical when receiving calls from unknown sources. If you feel you are receiving a call from a would-be fraudster, ask them for a call-back number and check with your local police or financial institution before providing any financial information or sending any money. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can also provide tools and resources to educate Nova Scotians about fraud:http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm


Source: Media Release

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