The Regina Police Service would like to make the public aware of recent scam attempts on Regina citizens.
The first, known as the “Grand Parent” scam, typically involves a phone call to an elderly person with the caller claiming to be a grandchild of the victim by addressing them as grandmother or grandfather. The victim often then unwittingly gives the suspect information by addressing the caller by the grandchild’s name. The suspect uses that information to build credibility, giving the victim an urgent story of crisis requiring an immediate money transfer (to pay for bail or an emergency automobile repair bill). The victim agrees to send money; the suspect gives instructions on how to wire the money and sometimes the victim will get a follow-up call from someone claiming to be a lawyer representing the grandchild.
The second scam involves callers, usually from out of country, responding to posted local rental advertisements claiming to be interested in the victim’s rental property. A rent cheque is sent, with thousands of dollars in overpayment. When contacted about this by the victim, the scam artist then asks the victim to deposit the cheque and send the overpayment back using a money transfer service. Sometimes the victim is instructed to send the money back to a third-party such as a supposed travel agent. The suspect adds an incentive often telling the victim to keep a portion of the overpayment for his or her trouble. This scam ends with the initial rent cheque failing to clear the bank, meaning the victim is responsible for the shortfall and has also sent money to the scam artist.
The third, the “Secret Shopper” scam, targets job hunters by posting online advertisements claiming to be a secret shopper service. After an online application process, the victim is contacted and hired to rate the customer service offered by local businesses. The victim is sent a cheque with a large sum to be used as a spending allowance on secret shopping. The victim must deposit the cheque into his or her own bank account and can choose items within a spending range at a specified retail store. As an enticing bonus, the victim is encouraged to keep the purchased items. After that, the victim is to wire a specific amount of the leftover funds, via a specified money wiring service, with instructions to rate the customer service at both the retail store and wiring service. The leftover funds on the cheque are supposed to be the payment for secret shopping. The initial cheque turns out to be fraudulent and does not clear and the victim has lost his or her own money and time.
If you have been a victim of these or any other scams, please contact the Regina Police Service at 777-6500 and the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report it: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca