OPP offer fraud prevention tips after several victims come forward in Orillia

Three people are out some cash; two others did not take the bait

Orillia OPP are warning of several scams in the Orillia-area.

First is a phone scam in which a caller identifies himself as an RCMP officer, telling the potential victim they’ve been fined for a crime and if they don’t pay, they will be arrested. Payment would have to be made with gift cards or bitcoins. There have been two such cases this month in Orillia. In both cases, the victims complied worried they would be arrested.

In another instance, a person who had posted a resume with an online employment agency received a call with a job offer to work from home.  It appeared the business was a legitimate one but the “representative” who made contact was not an employee. Information was shared with the “employer” and the first assignment was to transfer funds utilizing a crypto-currency platform. The victim became suspicious and did not complete the requested transaction. 

Another resident was not as fortunate when responding to a Kijiji ad for a French Bulldog puppy for sale. A down payment was e-transferred, but the victim after arriving at a residence to pick up the puppy, was told by the occupant they had not placed the ad, and that four others had come to the door under the same pretense.

One more potential victim contacted the OPP after being sent a cheque for $1,500 with instructions to send $1,000 to an orphanage and to keep the other $500 for her troubles. The potential victim deposited the cheque into her account but became suspicious and did not forward the requested funds. The bank later advised her that the cheque was fraudulent.

The OPP offer the following fraud protection tips:

  • Legitimate businesses and services do not accept payment by gift cards or crypto-currency (Bitcoin for example). If you are asked to pay by any means other than traditional currency, it is most likely a fraud.
  • The police will not contact you to immediately pay a fine. In these cases, the caller can sound very convincing and can be very demanding.
  • If you receive an incoming call from what you believe is a legitimate business or service, always verify the organization by calling back on a phone number that you know is valid for that organization. Scammers can “spoof” phone numbers to appear to represent a legitimate business.
  • When responding to online ads, never send money in advance. The best practice is to meet face to face in a safe location and exchange the product for payment in person.
  • If receiving funds by cheque, always ensure that your financial institution clears the transaction prior to utilizing the funds.