Beware of Phishing and Ransom Scams
Orillia, ON, March 13, 2019 - Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and Ontario's Serious Fraud Office
(SFO) are warning Ontario residents to check their emails, phone messages and computer
popups. All are tools that criminals can use to extort money and personal information
Phishing, ransom and service scams have the same basic goal. Typically, individuals
make contact with you t hrough your computer or via text message to tell you that
you have 'won a prize' or that you owe a sum of money. Some fraudsters will tell
you that they can provide telecommunications, Internet, financial, medical and energy
services for special or preferred rates. Although 95 per cent of the crimes go unreported,
phishing, ransom and service scams cost victims approximately $15 million across
Canada; approximately $7 million in Ontario. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud
Centre approximately 6,000 people fell victim to th ese scams in 2018.
Investigators find two commonly used scams. In one version, the victim receives
an email or someone calls pretending to represent a well-known computer-based company,
and claims that the victim's computer is sending out viruses or has been hacked.
The scammer will request to gain remote access to the computer and may run some
programs or change some settings. The scammer will then advise that a fee is required
for the service and request credit card information. In some cases, the scammer
will send a transfer from the victim's computer through a money service. The end
result is that the victim pays for a service that was never needed as the computer
was never infected.
The SFO indicates a more surreptitious, large scale phishing and ransom scam is
in circulation. Malware-infected emails were opened by employees of a large retail
store that unintentionally launched a phishing attack, allowing hackers to steal
the vendor's credentials. Once the vendor information was successfully obtained,
the company's customer database was exploited, exposing millions of clients, including
customer's names, mailing addresses and other personal information. The data breach
revealed millions of customers' credit and debit card information. In the end, the
company estimated that the data breach caused a multi-million dollar loss.
TIPS TO PREVENT PHISHING, RANSOM AND SERVICE SCAMS
If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus
or other malicious software is still on your computer. Run a full anti-virus check
using reliable security software. If you do not have security software (such as
virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a reputable computer
professional can help you find what you need.
Scammers may have also gained access to your onl ine passwords. Change these using
a secure computer.
If you paid someone by credit card or through an electronic funds transfer (e-transfer),
contact your financial institution or credit card company immediately. They may
be able to reverse or stop the transaction.
If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of a phishing, ransom or
service scam, contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or through their website.
"Recognize, Reject and
During the month of March, the OPP and the
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre partners -- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP), the SFO and the Competition Bureau of Canada -, are joining police services
across the country to help prevent all Canadians from becoming victims of fraud.
The OPP is postin g tips and links to various resources online to help the public
recognize, reject and report fraud on social media by using the hashtags #FPM2019,
#knowfraud or #OPPtips.
The Little Black Book of Scams
OPP Contact Information