The growing number of fraudulent calls this fall is so alarming it has prompted the Montreal Police to issue an advisory on avoidance.

In September, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) issued a warning to Canadians to be vigilant when receiving calls from persons claiming to be CSIS employees asking for their social insurance numbers. No CSIS employee will ever call a person asking for their social insurance number.

In October, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Ontario issued a public notice to advise citizens that through a system known as “caller ID spoofin,” fraudsters are contacting the public, impersonating RCMP officers to scare people into transferring money quickly to the callers to avoid scary repercussions that are entirely made up by scammers.

Fraud begets fraud. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC) warns that people who fall victim to frauds often get put on a “suckers list” by the fraudsters and these lists are sold from crook to crook. The best defence is to hang up when suspecting a call is not legitimate, they advise. According to the CAFC, “It is not rude, it is smart.”

The SPVM issued a memo of advice to Montrealers in November to protect themselves from telephone fraud:

1) Never divulge personal information during a call

2) No police or government service will ever ask that a conversation be kept secret.

3) No police or government service will ask for crypto money transfers or request that you buy credit cards.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center estimates that less than 5% of mass marketing frauds are ever reported. Reports of fraud are often found on social media platforms without being reported to authorities. The CAFC does suggest sharing information with family and friends to help avoid the problem, but the fraud needs to be reported to local law enforcement and to the CAFC to help correct the problem.

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