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Don’t trust info displayed on incoming calls: police

Following a rash of phone number spoofing, York Regional Police (YRP) is issuing a warning to never trust the information displayed on caller ID or the phone number displayed for incoming calls

“In recent incidents, fraudsters have made contact with victims by telephone and have identified themselves being a representative from Amazon,” Const. Maniva Armstrong reports.

“The fraudster tells the victim a crime has been committed involving the victim’s identity and transfers them to speak with a Crown Attorney. The victim is then told there is an investigation and personal information from the victim is needed in order to clear up the identity issue with Amazon.”

Neither the Superior Court of Justice nor the Crown Attorney’s office make phone calls demanding money or detailed personal information, YRP reports. In phone number spoofing, suspects use software programs or other technology to alter the caller ID to display false information, making it appear as though a call is coming from any organization or business in a bid to gain the victim’s trust.

Most often, fraudsters pose as government agencies, police services, the Canada Revenue Agency and other legal entities. Police encourage you to confirm who you’re speaking to through your own research. “If a situation feels suspicious, trust your instincts,” Armstrong says. “Do not be talked into providing personal information or payments by methods that you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with and call companies or agencies back to verify information.”

If you’re concerned about possibly being involved in a police or criminal investigation, contact your local police service. If you’ve been a victim of a fraud and have lost money, report the incident promptly to YRP at https://www.yrp.ca/en/online-reporting/Report-a-Crime.asp or 1-866-876-5423. To report frauds in which no money has been lost, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

The Anti-Fraud Centre also warns people against email spoofing. Similar to phone number spoofing, fraudsters manipulate the sender’s email address to make you believe the email you’re receiving is from a legitimate source. In website spoofing, fraudsters create fake websites to look like a financial institution, company offering employment, investment company or government agency.

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