Victoria, BC – Officers are warning the public after a Westshore woman was caught up in a Social Insurance Number or SIN scam, where the scammer claimed to be a VicPD officer.
The woman attended the Westshore RCMP detachment last week. She reported that she had received a telephone call from a number that appeared to originate at the Victoria Police Department. The caller claimed the woman had an arrest warrant out as her social insurance number (SIN) was used for a $100,000 fraud and drug trafficking. The male caller claimed to be a VicPD officer, and gave the woman a name and badge number. The woman hung up before the scammer could make any demands and before any money could be exchanged. She then attended the Westshore detachment to ensure that she was not in any trouble. She was described by Westshore RCMP officers as visually distraught from the ordeal.
This instance is a recent example of the SIN scam, which is being reported in Victoria and Esquimalt, Greater Victoria, and, nation-wide.
This scam is being conducted by telephone. Scammers falsify the call display number to indicate they are calling from a legitimate government agency. Examples of agencies they pretend to be from include the RCMP, Service Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and the Victoria Police Department.
Potential victims answer the phone to claims that their social insurance number has been indicated in a crime – often a fraud – or for an outstanding balance owing to government. Often the scammers claim a court case has already progressed against the potential victim and that they face immediate arrest. The potential victim is then directed to share personal information and eventually, hand over money.
What to do if you receive one of these calls, but didn’t give out personal information or money:
You don’t need to report it to us directly.
We encourage you to report the fraud attempt to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm. The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre keeps law enforcement partners across Canada informed about the latest fraud attempts and the best ways to counter them.
What to do if you receive one of these calls and gave out personal information or money:
It is important to act quickly if you’ve received one of these calls and have given out personal information or money. If you are in the process of sending money to potential fraudsters - Stop Immediately.
Contact your financial institutions and ensure all payments that you have not authorized are stopped. Inform them of the fraud and change both passwords and access information. Please also call our non-emergency number at (250) 995-7654 to report the incident.
For more information on keeping yourself safe from fraud, please visit vicpd.ca/fraud.