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Gift-card scammers target seniors, police say

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has been alerted to fraudulent activity regarding requests for gift cards over the phone.

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In at least three occasions, potential victims have received phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be employees of a bank or financial institution. In all three incidents, potential victims were told $1,800 was wrongfully withdrawn from their account, the institution caught the error but deposited $2,200 back into their account, police say.

Distroscale

The fraudsters then instruct the potential victim to purchase $1,000 in gift cards. They also instruct people on the phone not to contact their bank, financial institution or police.

However, all three of the potential victims realized this was fraudulent and did not send them gift cards or money, police say. Seniors were the targets in all three incidents of which police are aware.

Police urge everyone to review their finances regularly to ensure there are no irregularities in accounts and, if someone makes contact requesting money while also asking you not to tell anyone, it is a sign something is not right. Contact police at 705-949-6300 with concerns about a potential scam or fraudulent activity.

Police advise to not share personal information with anyone unknown over the phone. No one is obligated to share such information with others. Police advise to not be shy about asking the person on the phone questions about why his or she is requesting money or personal information.

“If you have second thoughts, end the conversation,” said police in a statement. “It is not rude, it is cautious. Protect yourself and your personal information at all times.”

For more tips to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft, visit www.saultpolice.ca.

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