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Saint John police issue warnings about scammers 2 days in a row | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19


For the second day in a row, Saint John police are warning people not to give out any personal information over the phone. 

The latest scam involves calls from people claiming they represent Service Canada and the Saint John Police Force, Jim Hennessy, communications manager with force, said Friday.

“The scammers are telling people their social insurance card may been compromised, thousands of dollars may have been stolen, and they need the phone number for the SJPF to confirm their identity.”

Hennessy said the scammers put the residents on hold and then call from another line, which shows up as the non-emergency number for the police force. 

“They provide a fake name and a badge number and instruct the person to then deposit cash into a bitcoin machine that they will be refunded and someone will be in touch to provide them with a new social insurance number.”

“Unfortunately, none of those things ever happen.”

He added no one from the police force would ever call a homeowner to verify personal information or threaten possible charges.

“Again, when it comes to your personal information, be very careful with anyone that you’re dealing with.” 

Hennessy said if a red flag comes up when you’re speaking with someone, hang up immediately and call the agency the person claims they are with to verify. 

Preying on job seekers

On Thursday, the police force issued a warning after complaints were received about an employment scam. 

“Unfortunately, again the scammers are working diligently trying to get people’s personal information.” 

Hennessy said that with this scam, an alleged employer contacts potential employees who have placed resumés online, makes a job offer and conducts an online interview.

The employer asks for personal information, and when it’s provided, the person is ‘hired’ on a probationary basis. The employer clams that because of COVID-19 limitations, the new hire must use their own bank accounts to manage financial transactions for the company.  

The employee receives money from the employer by e-transfer, wire or cheque and is told to send it to a client by bitcoin, gift card or other means. 

Never agree to transfer money

But the money the employee receives turns out to be from compromised accounts or other fraud victims, so the bank account may be locked down.

Because of COVID-19 job losses, some people looking for work will consider any opportunity that comes along. 

“Anytime someone asks you to hang onto money, transfer money, buy them a gift card, anything along that line, that should be an automatic red flag,” Hennessy said.

He said police are continuing to investigate a number of complaints. 





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