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Service Canada Phone Scam

Broadcast time: 9:55am Date: October 21, 2019

A Sarnia resident recently became victim to a phone scam costing him over $17,000.00.

On October 11th, 2019 the victim in this matter received a phone call from an automated voice recording advising him that it was Service Canada and to push 1 to continue. The victim did so and began speaking with someone pretending to be an agent with Service Canada. This “agent” advised him that his identification had been stolen and that there was a warrant out for his arrest for money-laundering and drug trafficking. He was advised to go his bank and take out whatever he can to pay the fee and was told that if he did not pay, he would be going to jail.

The victim asked a few times if he should just go to the police station to take care of things, but unfortunately believed the caller who advised him that if he attended the station, he would be arrested and it was just easier to pay the money. After withdrawing $2,600.00, the victim was directed to purchase Safari gift cards, scratch off the pin number and then read these numbers to the fake agent.

The victim was then told that he needed to pay $10,000.00 in order to have the warrant and charges dropped. Believing this to be true, the victim drove to London, Ontario and with family assistance, acquired the funds requested. He continued to follow the caller’s instructions and deposited the funds into a Bit Coin machine at a variety store on Wharncliffe Avenue in London. A code was then provided over the phone for the transfer of funds.

Unfortunately, the victim continued to entertain this call and was now told that he needed to pay $5000.00 for the legal fees involved in this case although this would be refundable fee. Believing this to be a refundable fee, he went back to his family for an additional $5000.00 which was provided. The victim was now instructed to attend a variety store on Adelaide Street in London and make the same type of deposit and transfer of funds into another Bit Coin machine. After doing so, the victim was told he could drive home, but not to hang up as this was an investigation and if he hung up, he would be going to jail.

While driving home, the caller asked for his address and the last three digits of his Social Insurance Number which the victim provided with the belief that within four hours of arriving home, an officer would come to speak with him and refund his money. After a near seven hour call, then victim finally hung up the phone and eventually reported this matter to police.

The Sarnia Police Service would like to remind everyone that these types of phone scams continue to occur on regular basis. These criminals are skilled at attacking a victim’s emotions. Please be advised that government institutions, financial institutions, police services, etc., do not conduct themselves in this fashion. Government payments are never accepted through way of gift cards, Bit Coin or Western Union. You will never be asked for your personal informational, banking information, passwords, PIN #’s, etc. over the phone. We strongly encourage you to hang up the phone whenever someone at the other end of the line is demanding money or threatening to arrest you if you don’t pay. You will never be in trouble for simply hanging up the phone. Please tell your family and friends to do the same.

If you have received this type of phone scam please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm. If you are a victim and have lost money to a scam or your identity has been compromised, please contact the Sarnia Police Service in addition to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Constable Nelson Amaral

Community Services Branch

Tel: 519-344-8861 Ext 6137

Email: namaral@police.sarnia.on.ca