Police in the Northwest Territories say a detachment phone number fraudulently appeared in a scam whereby criminals pretend to represent government agencies seeking money.
RCMP said the victim of the scam “received a call from a recognizable NT RCMP number” ending in 1111, as all of the territory’s detachment numbers do.
“After verification, the phone call did not originate from an RCMP detachment,” police said, implying the scammer had found a way to impersonate the number on the victim’s phone.
The Northwest Territories detachment in question was not identified.
Police urged residents to treat with great caution phone calls purporting to be from government agencies, unless they are absolutely sure the call is legitimate.
“If you are unsure if the caller is [from] a legitimate government agency, hang up,” RCMP said in a statement. “Do not give out any personal information, including social insurance number, identification numbers, passwords, or financial information over the phone.”
Fraudsters across the country are increasingly pretending to call from government agencies – including both the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – in order to con residents into parting with money.
The calls can involve the use of fake names and supposed “badge numbers” to lend an air of legitimacy to the conversation.
“The person calling may be claiming the victim committed fraud, and that they owe money to the CRA. The fraudster is then threatening that if the person does not comply, either ‘an arrest warrant will be issued’ or police will come to your home to immediately arrest you,” said RCMP on Tuesday.
“The public should be aware that police do not collect money for the Canada Revenue Agency.”
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers a guide to help people protect themselves from this type of fraud.
If you are targeted, you can file a report with the centre toll-free at 1-888-495-8501 or through its website, whether you ended up paying money or not. If you did pay money – or similar, such as Bitcoin or gift cards – you should report the incident to police.