Service Scam

January 07, 2022

The Wise Owls program is supported by the RCMP & Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association, and it aims to educate seniors. Seniors gain the necessary tools to recognize a problem, who to talk to, how to report it and where to go for more information. We provide awareness and education for seniors. While the senior population grows, so does their vulnerability to abuse. Elder abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any senior.

Awareness

A service scam is any false, deceptive, or misleading promotion or solicitations for paid services. These solicitations involve third parties that commonly make offers for telecommunications, internet, finance, medical and energy services. Additionally, this category may include, but is not limited to, offers such as extended warranties, insurance, and sales services. The two most reported service scams targeting Canadians are the antivirus software scam (Microsoft/Windows Technician) and lower interest rate scams.

The scammers involved in the antivirus software scam promise to repair your computer over the internet. This can involve the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card. Downloading software from an unknown source or allowing someone to remotely access your computer is risky. Scammers could use malicious software to capture your personal information such as usernames and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.

The people behind lower interest rate scams often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest. The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now. In addition, the scammer will request a "one-time" upfront fee to process the lower interest.

Prevention Tips

  • No legitimate company will call and claim your computer is infected with a virus.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer. If you are having problems with your operating system, bring it to a local technician.
  • Beware of scammers advising you of an unauthorized charge on your credit card account and requesting your credit card number.
  • Verify any calls with your credit card company by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card.
  • Only your credit card company can lower your interest rate.

What should you do if you are a victim of fraud or a scam?

Never be embarrassed if you think you are the victim of a scam. Reporting is crucial to help prevent others from becoming victims. If you do not report, law enforcement does not have the information they need to prevent the crime from happening again or to pursue the criminals responsible. Report scams and frauds by calling the police on the non-emergency line. (*NOT 911*) 


Friendly Reminders

Report crime online!

The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.  

Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart

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