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RCMP cautions residents of phone scam

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POWELL RIVER, B.C. – Mounties are warning residents about a fraud scam making the rounds.

Constable Ron Palmquist said the detachment has received phone calls from concerned residents who say they have received calls from someone claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency.

The unknown individuals then ask for personal information or threaten to arrest the victim if a payment is not made.

Palmquist noted that a lot of the callers ask for iTunes gift cards or gaming cards as payment.

He said that other calls that have been reported into the RCMP include a recording that claims to “be the internet” and that the victim’s computer is infected with a virus.

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The recording includes specific instructions to fix your computer issues. Palmquist said those instructions should never be followed.

A third type of call has also been reported. An unknown person offers people free money, and in response, the victim is asked to give out personal information.

“Be aware that this is fraud, and that once these individuals have your personal information, they can commit further fraud activities in your name,” Palmquist said.

He noted that the police, criminal justice system, and government agencies do not accept items such as Steam cards or iTunes cards as a form of payment.

“Never give out your address and date of birth over the phone to someone you do not know or trust,” Palmquist said.

Residents who have an encounter involving a suspicious phone call such as those listed above should contact the RCMP immediately.

Concerned citizens can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or through the agency’s website at antifraudcentre.ca, which lists other types of fraudulent phone scams.

Over the last week, the Powell River RCMP responded to 111 calls for service.

Some of these calls included five cases of impaired driving, six thefts, two incidents of mischief and four assaults.

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