Scams take advantage of your honesty, trust, good nature, and sometimes even your fear. With the holidays approaching, Ottawa Police Service, in partnership with 211, is reminding residents to exercise caution when it comes to questionable calls, texts, or emails.
Remember: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And when in doubt, check it out – do your research. Do not feel pressured to provide information or make a financial contribution right away. In Ottawa, calling 211 allows you to speak to someone who can help you determine if something is a scam.
“We want you to call us any time you have questions,” said John Hoyles, Executive Director of Community Navigation of Eastern Ontario, the provider of 211 services in Ottawa. “Our staff can take a look to see what resources can help you make the right call.”
Common scams currently circulating include:
- Merchandise scams
- Emergency (or “Grannie”) scams
- Canada Revenue Agency scams
- Tech support and Refund scams
If you’re unsure of whether something is a scam, a few tips are to:
- Check the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website or call them at 1-888-495-8501. They have up-to-date information on the latest scams and how to report them.
- Hang up and call back. If someone says they are calling from a reputable organization, such as your bank, you should be able to contact your banking institution and verify the caller’s information or claim.
- Call 211 or phone a friend. Don’t be embarrassed! It’s becoming harder and harder to tell what is legitimate and what is a scam. 211 Ontario has a wealth of fraud prevention information and can help point you in the right direction if you need additional resources or support. If you are still in doubt, run the incident by a trusted friend or relative to see what they think.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud – meaning you’ve lost money in a transaction – please report the incident to the Ottawa Police Service online or by calling their Police Reporting Unit at 613-236-1222, extension 7300.
For more information, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
You can never be too careful. Protect yourself by being extra cautious and doing research before parting with your hard-earned money.