Cyber criminals and scam artists are always open for business looking for every angle they can find to locate their next victim.
March is cybercrime awareness month – a good time to highlight some scams making the rounds in Delta.
It was with this in mind that the Optimist recently had a chat with Const. Dustin Classen from the Cybercrime Unit of Delta Police who offered his insights.
Scam calls, be it an automated call in other languages, tend to hit residents’ phone numbers several times a day, he says.
“It’s just an added warning to the residents of Delta to not respond to these calls, but even just answering these calls can put you on a list where you end up getting more contact from the scammers,” Classen said. “Some of these calls are designed to scam you out of your personal identification or your money, but some of these calls are strictly designed to see if someone picks up. You will have an autodialler wherever it is located throughout the world and if no one picks up, it will note that there is no answer, but if someone picks up, says hello and the line goes dead, it confirms that there is someone at that number. That data set can then be sold to other scammers and other organizations to further scams against these people.”
Classen said there are lots of 1+778 numbers coming in to residents in the community.
“Just be warry of that, block these calls if you can and never pick up,” he said. “Other prevalent calls are people saying they are from the Canada Revenue Agency, or Delta Police, indicating you will be arrested. If anyone is trying to coerce you into paying money immediately, our advice is never to pay and if you are truly concerned about the call, hang up and then research the agency so check with them if there is actually an emergency.”
Concerned citizens are also of late, receiving phone calls requesting their Social Insurance Number for tax reasons.
Police advise residents to not give anyone your SIN number over phone, email, or text.
Another prevalent scam involves crypto currency.
Classen says crypto investment scams are on the rise, especially in the past 12 months.
“You might be reached by someone on social media, or find an advertisement online where they are asking you to invest a lot of money into crypto currency, offering you promises of returns of 1,500 per cent within six months, which is unrealistic,” he said. “We have a lot of people who are putting money into these schemes, with people who they have met on social media.
“It may start out as very innocuous conversation and then they will engage more saying they are involved in these types of investments and help you make a lot of money. They are very practiced at it – they scam people every single day.”
Classen said if people are looking at crypto currency investments to do their homework first and not blindly go into an investment.
He suggests an agency like the BC Securities Commission, contact them and find out more details to see if in fact, this company is legitimate.
“We [Delta Police] are always open for business,” he added. “We would much rather here from residents before they potentially get scammed then afterwards. We are also here to help.”