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Fraudsters impersonating the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

2024-07-02

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are warning Canadians about the increasing threat of fraudsters impersonating the CAFC and police services. Sometimes, fraudsters are claiming to assist the CAFC with an ongoing investigation using their letterhead and logo as part of the fraud or in other cases, they spoof police phone numbers.The three most common impersonation scams to look out for include:

  1. Bank investigator
    • The fraudster claims to be from the bank, a major credit card provider or, in some cases, from businesses such as Amazon. They say there are unauthorized charges on your account or that your account is compromised. At times, the fraudster demands that you provide your credit card information and that you send money for reimbursement fees or as bait money to help catch a bad employee.
    • In order to convince the victim that it’s a legitimate investigation, fraudsters send a fraudulent letter via email which may include the CAFC‘s logo. The letter will advise that the CAFC is investigating and that you, the victim, must cooperate in order to “catch” the suspect. Fraudulent contact information (phone number and email address) is provided so that you communicate with them.
  2. Tech support
    • The fraudster claims a virus infected your computer. Fraudsters state that your computer is sending out viruses or has been hacked and must be serviced. They request access to your computer and may run programs or alter settings. Fraudsters will claim that they have found fraudulent activity on your computer and an investigation is required. Victims are contacted by:
      • Alarming website pop-ups that demand you call a number urgently
      • Unsolicited telephone calls (they may claim to be a Microsoft or other well-known computer company employee)
    • Fraudsters send a fraudulent letter via email which may include the CAFC‘s logo. The letter will advise that the CAFC is investigating and that you, the victim, must cooperate in order to “catch” the suspect. Fraudulent contact information (phone number and email address) is provided for you to communicate with them.
  3. Recovery pitch
    • If you have been a victim of a fraud, you may be targeted again with a promise to get your money back. Fraudsters will claim to be from a government agency or law enforcement and ask for your help with a “sting” operation to take down scammers who stole your money.
    • To convince you that these are legitimate investigations, or that they have found fraudulent activity on your computer, fraudsters send a letter by email which may include the CAFC‘s logo. The letter will advise that the CAFC is investigating and that you must cooperate to “catch” the suspect. They will provide fraudulent contact information (phone number and email address) for you to communicate with them. They will claim that a payment is required to assist with the investigation and will promise to return the funds, but they never will.

Warning signs and how to protect yourself

  • The CAFC or police services will never ask:
    • to transfer money or make a payment
    • for remote access to your computer
    • for personal information or any type of payment from you
  • Fraudsters will often provide the first 4 to 6 numbers of your debit or credit card
    • Remember that most debit and credit card numbers with specific financial institutions begin with the same four to six numbers
  • Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate Criminals use call-spoofing to mislead victims.
  • If you get an incoming call claiming to be from your financial institution, advise the caller that you will call them back
    • End the call and dial the number on the back of your card from a different phone if possible or wait 10 minutes before making the outgoing call
  • Never be afraid to disconnect the call
  • Never allow an unknown person to gain remote access to your computer/device
  • Always have your computer/device serviced by a reputable business
  • Never pay an advance fee to get a refund

If you believe you have been a victim of these scams or a similar one, immediately contact your bank, your local police and the CAFC.

Quick facts

  • The CAFC is a national police service that gathers intelligence on fraud across Canada and assists police of jurisdiction with enforcement and prevention efforts.
  • The CAFC is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Competition Bureau Canada, and the Ontario Provincial Police.
  • Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of fraud should report it to their local police and to the CAFC‘s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway.

Associated links

Contact

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
705-499-4572
media@antifraudcentre.ca

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