Protect Yourself from Cheque Fraud and Money Transfer Scams
Orillia, ON, March 7, 2019 - Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets
Branch, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and Ontario's Serious Fraud Office
(SFO) say money transfer scams extort money and personal information from unwitting
Money transfer and cheque fraud scams are successful for fraudsters because they
constantly find ways to put a new spin on an old scam. Victims sometimes educate
themselves on a particular type of money transfer or cheque fraud scam only to find
out a new version of scam has been created. Typically, individuals use a phone or
computer to communicate with you before they offer a financial transaction. Often
this serves a dual purpose of providing criminals with access to your banking information
and then for you to legitimately send them money. This category of scams may also
include offers such as job proposals, fake prizes and foreign money exchanges. According
to the CAFC, these types of scams defrauded victims across Canada of approximately
$25 million in 2018.
Investigators find two scenarios are most commonly used. In one version, someone
responds to a resume that victims have submitted to a job posting site. Suspects
will respond to the resume which generally contains personal information by trying
to convince you that your qualifications are 'exactly what they are looking for.'
Conversations lead to a job offer but there will be some form of financial transaction
that needs to take place -- such as a prepayment for "professional services." The
suspects may also send you money for training or further education, but the amount
of money is more than the agreed upon amount. The scammers request the "extra funds"
be sent back to them which, of course, is real money. The other amount that was
previously-deposited is defaulted by the banking institution. In the end, the money
that victims sent is gone. According to the SFO, one particular victim had received
a cheque for approximately $275,000. However, the instructions that accompanied
the cheque stated that a five per cent commission be paid, five percent more for
taxes and a further $135,000 be sent back to the so-called employer. Recognized
their scam worked, the suspects sent another cheque for more than $400,000 when
the bank advised that the cheques were fraudulent. Unfortunately, when all was said
and done, the victim lost approximately $200,000.
In another common scenario, scammers will respond to an advertisement that has been
placed on a buy and sell site. They generally offer you the asking price or more
for the item without physically seeing it. The individual will then send a money
transfer and request the item to be sent to them. In many cases, the amount will
exceed the amount of the asking price. The fraudsters will request to deposit the
money and send the excess back to them. After several days, the bank will inform
you that the money that was deposited was defaulted and you were scammed of the
money you transferred.
Tips to Prevent Money Transfer Fraud
- Think twice before uploading your resume to a job posting site that requires your
personal information. Once you have had communication with the prospective employer,
do research on the company. If possible, physically attend the location to confirm
the information. Then, provide your resume to the person in charge of hiring.
- When dealing with online buy-and-sell sites, consider dealing face-to-face with
the prospective buyer, pay with cash, and try to deal locally - perhaps at a 'safe
trade zone' if available. If the vendor pushes you to electronically transfer money,
assume it is a scam.
If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of a money transfer scam,
contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian
Anti-Fraud Centre website or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
"Recognize, Reject and Report Fraud"
During the month of March, the OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre partners -
Ontario's Serious Fraud Office, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) 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 posting tips
and links to various resources online to help the public recognize, reject and report
fraud on social media by using the hashtags #FPM2019 and #knowfraud.
OPP Contact Information