Halifax Regional Police is advising the public of a recent increase in fraudulent phone calls where a scammer spoofs the phone number to appear to be from local phone numbers and government agencies.
A common theme of late involves the scammer advising the victim that a warrant has been issued and that the police may already be on their way to arrest them. To avoid being arrested, the victim is directed to make a payment using gift cards or by transferring money to a bitcoin account. The scammers have been using spoofing methods to disguise their phone numbers as a local number and they may know the victim’s full name and/or contact information.
If you get a call from someone stating they are from Service Canada or another government agency, saying your social insurance number (SIN) has been blocked, compromised or suspended, this is a SCAM. The callers often use caller ID spoofing—a scam in which fraudsters disguise the number seen of the ID display in order to trick victims into answering the phone and trusting the caller.
How to protect yourself
- Don’t trust call display. Using apps, scammers can choose any number they want to show on your call display. What appears to be an incoming call from a legitimate agency can be a scammer.
- If you get a call from a person saying they represent a company or government agency asking for personal information, hang up and call the number on your account statement or the number listed in the phone book for the agency to verify.
- Never provide personal information such as your SIN, account numbers, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls.