Gatineau Police warn citizens about fraud schemes during Fraud Prevention Month
Gatineau Police are taking advantage of Fraud Prevention Month to inform citizens of various tactics used by fraudsters. The Gatineau police highlight that fraud schemes are multiplying and it’s important to know the signs so citizens can protect themselves.
Last year the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received fraud and cybercrime reports totaling $530 million in losses for the victims, a nearly 40% increase in losses compared to 2021. It is estimated that only 5% to 10% of people report.
A popular tactic is fake investment websites. Cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular, and fraudsters have created investment schemes to lure their victims with the promise of huge profits. In these cases, victims notice an investment ad online or receive an invitation to invest through social media.
Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency with complex uses and it is not regulated or managed by laws that protect against fraud. Gatineau police advise residents to be cautious when thinking of investing in crypto currency.
After investing a small amount and receiving news of their first investment yielding large gains, victims will usually withdraw a certain amount of funds. In previous cases, this has led to victims feeling confident in the investment platform and investing more money. The fraudsters will inform victims that their investment has been very profitable once again, but when the victim tries to withdraw some of the money the fraudsters will demand large sums of money stating it is for tax reasons. The victims lose all their money and then the website will disappear, and the fraudsters are impossible to contact.
One tactic is a fake job ad. Since the beginning of 2023 Gatineau police have received over 15 complaints involving false job advertisements. Each incident has had a similar process. First, the victim will find an ad for a telecommuting job while browsing social networks and websites for job search. In some cases, victims are contacted directly by fraudsters that offer them a job through their social networks.
The victims will then be called for a virtual interview. After that, the victims receive a virtual cheque that they are instructed to deposit in their bank account and then they are asked to transfer the funds in cash or Bitcoin to a third party. They may also ask the victim to purchase gift cards for charities or clients. Shortly after, the victims will learn that the deposited cheque was fraudulent, and their “employer” has cut off all contact with them.
The Gatineau police advise citizens to be cautious if a job or investment is too good to be true. For investment opportunities that are promoted as risk-free, urgent need to act or a way to make lots of money quickly, residents should be cautious and question the legitimacy of the ad.
Research is important when looking for a job. Make sure to research the company to ensure it exists. A way to check the legitimacy of the person or crypto trading platform is to check whether it is registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers.
Another way to prevent fraud is to not deposit a third-party cheque into a bank account, especially if the individual is instructed to quickly withdraw the money after the deposit. Gatineau police say that if in doubt, contact the local police department.