A new twist on the emergency scam is targeting New Brunswickers.
FCNB has received reports of a scam artist calling New Brunswickers pretending to be an employee of an ambulance service. In one case, they reported being from “Ambulance Saint John.” In another case, they pretended they were calling from an ambulance service in Maine.
The scammer claims that a relative has been injured in an accident and money is needed to cover the relative’s medical bills. They say the money needs to be sent immediately so treatment can continue.
How to recognize the Ambulance Emergency Scam:
This scam is a variation of the Emergency Scam (sometimes referred to as the Grandparents Scam). This scam has been around for years and typically involves a grandparent receiving a call from a con-artist claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren.
The caller goes on to say they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. Wanting to help their grandchild, the victim sends money by money transfer.
In this latest scam, the scammer pretending to be from an ambulance service may ask questions to get you to reveal personal information.
What to do if you receive a phone call:
Take time to verify the story. The scammer is counting on you to respond quickly to the emergency situation.
Hang up and call the person they claim has been injured, or a close family member of the person, to see if the story is true.
Never send money to anyone you don’t know.
Never give out any personal information to the caller.
Where to report the scam:
Report the ambulance emergency scam to your local police or RCMP, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, either online or by its toll free number: 1-888-495-8501.
A Fredericton woman was recently the target of an email scam that preys on the generosity of her friends and contacts.
Hackers took control of her email account and sent everyone in her contacts an email asking for a favour. The email went something like this: “I need a favour from you. I need to get iTunes gift cards for my niece. It’s her birthday, but I’m currently traveling. Can you pick them up from a store around you? I’ll pay you back as soon as I am back.”
Friends who responded to the email request were told to purchase $200 worth of iTunes gift cards, scratch the back of the cards to reveal the PIN numbers, take a photo of the PINS and send the photo back.
This scam is also called confidence fraud. The scam artists pretend they are somebody you know and care about and play on your desire to help your friend. Once the scammers get the iTunes gift cards pictures, they cash in by selling the codes for a fraction of the retail price.
Some of the woman’s friends realized it was a scam and alerted her about the hack. Because the hackers had rerouted replies to the fake email, she had no way of knowing what had happened.
How to recognize this type of scam:
The email may be poorly written and contain grammatical mistakes.
You are asked to reveal the PIN codes, take a photo of them and send them in an email.
What to do if you receive an email like this:
Ignore it and delete it.
Advise your friend their email has been hacked by calling them. Your friend may not have access to their hacked email account.
What to do if your email has been hacked:
Contact your email service provider to report the hack. They will help you through the steps to take back your email account from the hackers.
Change your email password and your security questions.
Notify everyone on your contact list. Tell them to watch for any suspicious emails from you.
Scan your computer with an updated anti-virus program.
Online lenders are targeting New Brunswickers to offer them fraudulent loans, FCNB warns.
While many online lending options may be legitimate, there is also a rise of scam artists offering fake loans to unsuspecting consumers.
How the Advance Loan Scam Works:
A consumer applies for a loan and it seems to be approved or guaranteed. However, when the consumer contacts the company to receive the funds, the company requests a fee (such as a deposit or loan insurance) before the funds will be transferred.
Once the scam artist receives the payment from the consumer, they disappear. Their contact lines are disconnected or they simply ignore consumer inquiries. Often the website is shut down only to reappear under a different name so the scammer can continue to target unsuspecting consumers and avoid being pursued by law enforcement.
Victims of the advance loan scam report that the websites appear legitimate. For example, they may display a licensing number, a tax number, or incorporate digital signature technology on their platform to give it the semblance of being real.
In these situations, the names of the company targeting consumers may change but the scam remains relatively similar. It’s important to know the red flags of this scam.
How to recognize a loan scam:
You’re asked for a fee or deposit before receiving the funds. In Canada, it’s illegal for lenders to request a deposit before the loan is given. If a lender asks for advance funds to “secure” or “confirm” a loan, it’s a scam.
You’re contacted out of the blue by phone or internet. Unsolicited loan offers may be legitimate, but proceed with caution.
You are guaranteed a loan or interest rate regardless of your credit history. Legitimate lenders use your credit history to determine if they will lend you money, and at what rate.
You’re asked to send payments using gift cards such as iTunes, or wire transfer service such as Western Union.
What to do if I suspect a loan is a scam:
Do your research. Scammers use names that sound like legitimate company names, to try and trick you into feeling safe. If you’re unsure, do an internet search for the company name followed by the word scam. If you see many results attesting it’s a scam, tread very carefully.
Often, fraudulent sites will display a page about their “board of directors”, but steal the pictures of the board members from other, legitimate websites. A reverse image search can help you determine if their board members are really who they claim.
Verify the company exists. Get a physical address that you can verify or get the company’s contact information from directory assistance or the phone book.
Be cautious of lenders that are based outside of Canada, because if it is a scam, it will be particularly tough to get your money back.
Be careful where you share your personal information. If you do not trust the website or company and if you can’t verify that it is legitimate, do not share sensitive information.
Even if documents appear legit, tread carefully because it’s easy to fake “official” looking paperwork.
Remember, just because they advertise through a recognized media outlet such as Facebook, does not mean the company is legitimate.
Report it with the RCMP. They may already know about this and tell you whether a company is fraudulent or not.
Identity Theft refers to the collection or acquisition of someone else’s personal information to conduct other criminal activities. Identity Theft can occur through the telephone, email, regular mail or the internet.
Identity Fraud is the actual use of another person’s information, living or deceased, in connection with fraud. This includes impersonation and the misuse of debit or credit card data.
Fraudsters use a range of techniques to acquire a consumer’s identity. It can be as simple as obtaining personal information through a dumpster dive, direct call or through sophisticated means using technology such as phishing, skimming, malware, spyware and viruses.
While consumers may not suffer immediate financial losses, they can spend hours alerting financial institutions and the credit bureaus. In addition, they may have difficulty obtaining credit or re‐establishing a good credit rating in the future.
Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself
Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls or mail asking for personal or financial information.
Be aware of creditors or collection agency calls about an application or account you do not have.
Stay current. Check your bank and credit card statements monthly and report any suspicious activity. Report any missing mail or statements right away.
Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages stating you have a refund and asking to enter your personal or financial information to deposit the money.
Properly dispose all personal and financial documents (i.e. shredding).
Obtain a free credit report (available once a year) through the two credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.
Beware of unsolicited emails or text messages demanding payment.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre at 1‐888‐495‐8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca .
This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified, copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.
It’s peak moving season. Students are leaving the nest; parents are helping them find the right place. Beware: if a rental listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. School might not have started yet, but do your homework and learn to recognize rental scams.
In a typical rental scam, fraudsters will entice you with a very attractive listing: sought after area, great amenities and low price. Ads will be posted on popular sites like Kijiji or Facebook. Scammers may use photos from an old listing, from a house that’s up for sale, or from short-term rental sites like Airbnb, to make it look authentic. They pose as the landlord and may claim to be abroad and unable to meet in person to show you inside the place.
After a few emails or text messages, they will start asking for money. First, they’ll try to get a security deposit, then, they’ll ask for the first month’s rent, and then another month’s rent in exchange for a discount. They can even try to rush you into a decision by saying that others are also interested in the property. Don’t give in. It could be a scam.
Here are some warning signs to look out for when shopping for a rental:
the monthly rent is lower than other similar places
you're asked to leave a deposit without any formal rental agreement or lease in place
you're asked to send money to someone outside the country
when you ask about the apartment, you get an email that sends you to a website asking for personal or financial information
ads show pictures of the outside of the property only, or pictures that don't match the actual property or address
Here’s what you can do to avoid being scammed:
Go to the address, make sure the listing is truthful and accurate. If you are unable to go in person, use the Internet to see actual images of the rental.
Research the address to ensure it is not a duplicate post. You may even conduct a reverse image search to see if the photos were used elsewhere.
Schedule a showing and confirm that the landlord will be present.
If you plan on renting in a new development, contact the builder to confirm ownership.
Request a lease or contract. Review it thoroughly.
If you’ve been the victim of a rental scam or another type of fraud, or if you have information about this type of scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), the RCMP or your local police.