Now more than ever, Delta police are reminding residents to be extra vigilant against potential scam artists.
The COVID-19 pandemic has afforded more opportunities for scammers to target unsuspecting victims.
In recent weeks, a phone scam involving contact tracing has been making the rounds on Facebook.
Even though Delta has yet to have a reported case of this particular scam, Const. Dustin Classen of the Delta Police Economic & Technical Crime Unit said it doesn’t mean that it is not present in the community.
“This is just another opportunity for scammers,” he said. “The legitimate scenario with contact tracing is that you receive a call from public health saying you have been in contact with someone who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and how do we differentiate those legitimate calls with these calls that are not? I think really the hallmarks are if they start asking for money and in this case, asking for money to pay for a test kit, which obviously is not the case in B.C.”
He said in this instance, victims have been asked to also provide a social insurance number as well as their immigration status – two pieces of information that point to a clear sign of a scam.
“Maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not, if you are unsure, call your health authority and in our case it is Fraser Health,” he said.
After the Optimist made an inquiry to DPD about COVID-19-related scams, Classen said a search of files in the past few months indicated five reported cases in Delta of identity theft related to CERB.
But according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there have been more than 700 reports of this fraud since the start of the pandemic with more than 100 in the past week alone.
“We know the fraudsters are hitting that a lot, but how they are getting into the accounts remains to be seen,” he said.
So how to you defend yourself from being attacked?
Classen said always report the suspected fraud attempt to the Canadian Revenue Agency as well as local police.
“Fraud is typically under reported. In fact, five per cent of frauds are actually reported to us,” he said. “We can’t help you or look into it if we don’t know that it is happening, so if there is one thing that I can stress to your readers is the importance of reporting these incidents to Delta police.”
He said other important steps include reporting the frauds with your financial institutions and keeping regular contact and reviews of all of your bank accounts. Always shred your personal documents and never leave mail in your mailbox.
This is how they get to you. They start building a profile through the documents and supplement it with social media. If you are exposed on Facebook, they start building that profile and start applying for credit cards in your name and that’s how things like identity theft happen,” he added. “Frauds are always happening and now COVID-19 has come along and the scam artists are just modifying things a bit. It’s up to all of use to be aware and keep our vigilance up.”
Get your CompTIA A+, Network+ White Hat-Hacker, Certified Web Intelligence Analyst and more starting at $35 a month. Click here for more details.