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RCMP warns of new scams popping up in the new year

New year, same thieves trying anything they can to get money.

Just on Wednesday, two Nanaimo residents fell victim to two different scams.

“It can happen to any of us,” said Constable Sherri Wade with the Nanaimo RCMP. “We are busy; we click on a link that we shouldn’t, we give personal information to people who are skilled in tricking us. I would encourage people to go to the ‘Canadian Anti Fraud Center’ website. The website provides up-to-date information on the most recent scams, how to protect yourself and if you become a victim of a scam, how to report it.”

One Nanaimo resident reported he received a call from someone pretending to work for the Mastercard Investigation Unit. He was told his credit card had been compromised, and he needed to provide pre-paid credit cards to help catch the person responsible.

As he was buying the cards, he had been warned by staff that he may be the victim of a scam. When his friends heard of what had been going on, they called the police. However, the man had already provided the numbers of the cards to the thief, who subsequently drained them of funds.

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Meanwhile, another Nanaimo resident reported that his computer had frozen, and a notification had popped up about a large sum of money being taken out of his bank account. When he called the helpline the popup provided, the fake technician he spoke to was allowed full access to his computer. 

The technician then told him he could appease the hackers by sending them gift cards with money, which is when the man realized he was being scammed and turned off his computer. He checked his bank accounts, and though the passwords had been changed, no one had removed money from his accounts. He changed the passwords back, then had his computer wiped clean by a specialist.

Back on January 20th, a retail Nanaimo store reported that they had been scammed after a suspect used fraudulent ‘Flexiticards’ to purchase multiple Macbook Pros. Flexiti is a company that allows people to buy online or in-person with retailers within the company’s network.

If you believe you are being scammed, RCMP encourages you to call the Canadian Anti Fraud Center rather than your local detachment.

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