Police warn against fraud in HRM

March is Fraud Awareness Month and Halifax Police want to educate residents about this type of crime.

by Tanya Kunwongse

The Halifax Regional Police are educating civilians through a weekly series of news campaigns on their website. They’re holding a live Twitter session so that people can ask questions about fraud.

“There are a number of things that happen every day to individuals, companies, and charitable organizations,” says Detective Constable Dana Drover. “You might have something like scam. Someone might go to an online marketplace and someone might buy something, but for some reason the item is never received or the money is never given to the recipient.”

Detective Constable Dana Drover. (Tanya Kunwongse photo)

In Halifax, frauds are usually phone scams, like the typical “Grandparent scam”

“Someone will call a person and claim to be a grandchild. They’ll introduce himself, saying ‘Hello Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’,” says Detective Drover.  “Unfortunately people might fill in the blank right away, so to speak. They’ll think, “Oh, this is my grandson Timmy or whatever, and  then engage in conversation. And before they know it, they’re being lured into a financial scam.”

But even those without younger relatives can be easily scammed, especially if they own a computer. A scammer may phone a victim and claim to be a representative of a computer company, explaining that the company is having trouble with the victim’s computer system, and that they might have to ‘fix’ it. A person not so computer-savvy will end up following instructions given to them, consequentially downloading a virus that will give the scammer access to credit card and bank information.

You can avoid scams by simply researching a company or a person’s reliability or by following your basic instincts.

(Tanya Kunwongse photo)

“Don’t be put in a situation where you’re under high pressure, or being put in a spot where you think ‘something’s not quite right,’” Detective Drover advises.  “If you’re uncomfortable with someone who is asking you about personal or financial information, or if they want you to act quickly on what seems to be a really good deal but it doesn’t seem quite right, then take a step back. Say, ‘Thank you very much, I’ll think about it.’ If you’re unsure, ask your family and friends about it or call the police.”

Related Audio: Fraud prevention tips