According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, 67,916 Canadians were victims of fraud in 2021, losing $381 million to scammers. And Madison Mitchell, an employee at Rimbey TV, sees potential victims often.
“It’s definitely happening here, quite often,” said Mitchell, adding that young, middle-aged and older people have fallen victim to scams.
Mitchell explained that people might see an e-mail that says they need to pay for something and they have to use an iTunes gift card as payment, for example, or they buy something online and need to send a photo of a MasterCard gift card as a deposit. Mitchell said a red flag at the store is seeing someone try to buy one of the common cards used by scammers, such as iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play or Steam, and loading it for a high amount of money.
“We do question them when they come in, but people are told by the scammers to say, ‘No, this is for my grandkids.’ Now we don’t sell those gift cards over $100.”
Mitchell said she hears about other types of scams as well, such as a text coming through saying you can deposit your e-transfer once you enter in your banking information; or another common one she’s heard about is a warning pop-up while browsing the Internet that says the user needs to call Microsoft. Except it’s not the number for Microsoft and you’ll have to pay to get a virus or some other fake issue removed.
“If you have questions or if you want to ask someone if this text or e-mail is legitimate, we’re more than happy to help,” said Mitchell. “You can call or come in and ask us.”
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre highlights the idea that if it seems too good to be true, it is. The centre offers suggestions to avoid being scammed, such as not giving out personal information, use a strong password for your online accounts, don’t click on or call any number on a pop-up, be aware of upfront fees and do your research.