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Coquitlam RCMP warn of potential phone scam
The Coquitlam RCMP is warning the public to be careful about who they give personal information or money to after residents complained to police about a telephone scam last week.
Cpl. Jamie Chung told The Tri-City News that a couple of people have received calls requesting they phone the Federal Court Officer about an overdue tax notice at the number 647-558-3423. When the number is called, the target is informed that they are behind in their income tax and need to pay.
However, the intended victims became suspicious when the suspect on the other end of the line asked them to transfer their money into Home Depot gift cards before paying the bill.
"They thought it was a bit off and weird that the government would ask for Home Depot gift cards," Chung said. "I guess that was one of the reasons they were suspicious."
He added that one of the intended victims had in fact been late in paying his taxes. When he got the call he was concerned until the suspect requested the unusual payment method.
The calls have come in over the last ten days and Chung believes it is likely that there are more victims who have not come forward. So far, nobody has fallen for the scam.
March is Fraud Prevention Month and police are warning people to educate themselves about the various scams they see in the course of their investigations.
Chung said the knowledge is the most effective way to prevent scams and people should always report frauds to police, even if they think nothing can be done about it.
"By reporting fraud you are helping the police to further their investigation," he said. "You are also exposing the scam so others don't get victimized."
The simplest way to prevent fraud and identity theft, according to the Coquitlam RCMP, is to follow one basic rule for personal records and document: If you don't need it, destroy it.
That is why police are inviting members of the public to bring their documents to a shred it event at the Coquitlam detachment (2986 Guildford Way) on March 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ATM slips, credit card receipts, pay stubs and monthly utility bills are just some of the papers the police are encouraging people to bring down to the station to be shredded.
Only clean office paper will be accepted and there is no cost for the service.