RCMP warn of Valentine's Day frauds
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Surrey RCMP is reminding residents to be wary of those taking advantage of our basic need for human companionship.
In 2015, Surrey RCMP saw a 36% increase in frauds largely due to the Canada Revenue Agency and Immigration Canada scams (see previous release). The Surrey RCMP also receives several common fraud complaints that are associated to the time of year and demographics.
“Valentine’s Day can be an emotional time for some people,” says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “Many people get caught up in the sentiment and expectations of the day and may let their guard down, especially when it comes to seemingly random acts of kindness or affection.”
One fraud that has showed up in Surrey recently is the so called “fake flowers” fraud. An express delivery company shows up at the victim’s door with a beautiful gift basket of flowers, chocolates, and wine. The “delivery person” notes that a card is being sent separately and explains to the overwhelmed victim that, because the basket includes alcohol, a small surcharge is required to prove that the basket wasn’t delivered to a minor or left on the doorstep. The victim then hands over their credit card (cash is not permitted) to the “delivery man” who then swipes the victim’s personal info using his modified card reader.
Another scam that residents should be aware of this Valentine’s Day is “catphishing”. Catphishing involves fraudsters who troll online dating websites and build fake online romantic relationships with people in order to obtain personal information and/or money from their victims. Apps that advocate romantic meet-ups are risky ventures from a financial perspective, but could also endanger your personal safety and put you at further risk of victimization.
“We ask residents to go over some of these frauds, and the risks involved, with family members who may be more vulnerable at this time of year,” says Cpl. Schumann. “In order to ensure that Valentine’s Day is a pleasant experience, remember to question anything that seems too good to be true and be cautious of those who attempt to earn your trust too quickly.”
For more information on fraud prevention please visit the Scams & Fraudpage on our website. If you are the victim of a fraud, please contact your local police and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or at 1-888-495-8501.