Although the threat of many different types of fraud is ever-present, the Kelowna RCMP say they have seen a resurgence in service scams and money transfer requests recently.
The two most recently reported service scams in Kelowna were the antivirus software scam and credit card interest rate reduction scams.
It has been reported that these scams are also surfacing in other communities within the Interior of B.C., and some residents of the North Thompson report they are familiar with both.
The antivirus software scammer promises to repair your computer over the Internet which often involves the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer.
Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card. Often times, you pay for a program that actually does nothing, or is malicious in nature.
Allowing remote access to your computer, or downloading unknown software may compromise your personal information such as user names and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.
The scammers behind credit card interest rate reduction scams prey on people’s desire for a better deal. They often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest.
The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now, but in reality, your interest rates won’t change and you will be out the cash you paid for the phoney service.
Money transfer requests are mostly dominated by variations of the Nigerian scam which has been around for nearly 20 years.
In the most recently reported form, the target receives a letter with a cheque enclosed and instructions. The cheque is to be deposited in the target account and part of it to be wired by a specified service to one or more people. The cheque is usually a fake and leaves you paying the bill.
Despite the vast number of frauds and scams, they all really have the same purpose: to make you part with your money and/or personal information.
For more information on scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.