Between bogus bills and online fraud cases reported in Trail over two days – as well as ongoing reports of phone scams targeting locals – it’s getting harder and harder for the police to keep up with all the complaints.
Over the weekend, the Trail and Greater District RCMP fielded more reports of someone trying to using fake $50 bills at two businesses, and the detachment is again reminding the public to be wary of sending money electronically after two locals were collectively taken for $500+.
As far as the phony money, Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says that police are still investigating and they remind the public and businesses to remain vigilant in checking $50 and $100 bills.
“As a precaution, some businesses are currently refusing to accept these denominations until further notice,” he reported Monday.
The Bank of Canada has contacted the Trail detachment about the counterfeits, and sent the RCMP documents which depict security features of Canadian and U.S. currency.
To view those documents, visit this story on the Trail Times website.
Another warning from the Trail RCMP follows the report of a 21-year old female, of Trail, who was defrauded of $500 through an online scam on Saturday.
“The victim received an email ‘job offer’ to take care of an elderly individual in her area,” the sergeant reported. “The victim provided her personal information to the prospective ‘employer’ in order to have a criminal record check completed,” Wicentowich continued.
“The victim sent $500 electronically to the ‘employer’ in order to ‘purchase a wheelchair for the elderly client.’ The ‘employer’ then tried to get the victim to deposit cashiers cheques,” he said.
“However, her bank was alerted to the fraud and froze her bank account to prevent further victimization.”
The second reported online fraud case happened on Nov. 15.
Wicentowich says a Trail man, 25, was defrauded on Kijiji after electronically sending $40 to an account holder named “Tony” at email@example.com.
“The victim was trying to purchase a Nintendo gaming console for $80 and agreed to send half of the money to the email address up front and the other half when the console was received,” Wicentowich said. “The Nintendo never arrived at the victim’s house. The incident was reported to Kijiji.”
These two frauds have the Trail RCMP cautioning the public that any third party purchases or agreements made over websites such as Kijiji are not guaranteed or insured, like they are when dealing with a legitimately registered company.
As well, he says Kijiji recommends meeting in person to purchase items in a neutral, well-lit public area.
“The Trail and Greater District detachment can be used as a location during their regular business hours,” Wicentowich advised. “Please notify the RCMP ahead of time if you intend to do so.”
Additionally, he says criminal record checks can only be completed in person at a police station with valid identification. Employers cannot complete it over the internet or by obtaining personal information via email.
Finally, another phone scam recently targeting locals – the caller claims to be from a pharmacy and asks for financial details in order to refill prescriptions – has police reminding the public to never give out personal information over the telephone.
“Phone scams change constantly and we cannot keep up. It has become ‘big business’ in the criminal world,” said Wicentowich. “Currently, I do not know of a single legitimate company that calls their clients asking for financial information. Anyone who is asked for financial information should be immediately suspicious and take precautions to ensure it is legitimate before answering any questions,” he said.
“I recommend hanging up, verifying the phone number through official websites or the phone book, and directly calling back the government agency, business, or pharmacy, as in this case.”