Fraud Reports

Top Three Fraud Prevention Tips:

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. If you are sent money in advance or have to pay in advance, it’s likely a scam.

3. If you are at all suspicious, verify the situation with an independent third party, such as your credit union.

The following are some examples of scams going around. Check out the Government of Canada’s Canadian Anti-Fruad Centre website for more information.

Check out the Little Black Book of Scams and our 'Top 5 Scams' infographic.

Overpayment Scheme Expand/Collapse

July 15, 2020 One of our members has reported a scam in the local area whereby an individual is purporting to be a livestock purchaser using Info Mall as their resource.  A cheque received was from a company that had nothing to do with the livestock business, and it was sent via FEDEX from an individual  and not a company situated in the USA.  The cheque itself appeared to be coming from a Canadian financial institution,  even though it was received from the USA.  

The cheque was for a large sum and the fraudster was very aggressive and persistent that the cheque should clear within 24 hours.  Our member recognized that this was a fraud and contacted the financial institution that purportedly issued the cheque and they confirmed that it was counterfeit.  The fraudster had persistently contacted our member asking questions relating to when he could  pick up the livestock. 

This type of fraud is an overpayment scheme (see: for more details) whereby the fraudster will generally change their mind or say that they have made a mistake. This results in a request from the Fraudster to return all or some of the funds which leaves the victim short when it comes back as counterfeit.   We want to thank our member for wanting us to share this story and for trying to protect our community from being defrauded by this individual.

Phishing Attemps on e-Transfers Expand/Collapse

Received an Interac e-Transfer notification you weren't expecting?

If you received a notification for an Interac e-Transfer that you were not expecting, contact the sender through a different communication channel (call or see them in person) to verify. If the notification comes from someone you don't know, or you suspect it may be fraudulent, do not respond or click any links. In fact, delete it.

More information is available from our Interac partner on their website.

Netflix Email Phishing Scam Expand/Collapse

Consumers have been receiving emails from whom they think is a Netflix representative asking them to update their personal information. They are threatened their account will be frozen if information is not provided.

Do not provide any personal information (i.e. SIN number, mother's maiden name). Netflix has confirmed they did not send an email asking for this information.

Email from Financial Institution Expand/Collapse

Call Before You Click!

Did you receive an unsolicited email supposedly from your financial institution asking you to click on a link or download a file to avoid a charge? Although they may appear legitimate, these emails are scams! Financial institutions will not send you unsolicited emails asking you to download files. If you are unsure, call your home branch.

Bonnyville: 780-826-3377

Cold Lake: 780-594-4011

Call from Microsoft Expand/Collapse

The Scenario: The consumer receives a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support. The caller may say, often in a quick and urgent tone, that they’ve been alerted to a virus on the computer, or they offer to solve a consumer’s “computer problems,” or sell the consumer a software license. The scammer then directs the consumer to go to their computer and proceeds to give directions to ‘get rid of the virus.’

The Scam: The scammer is trying to gain full, remote access to your computer. If they are successful, they may install malicious software and they may be able to access your personal information, including banking details. Microsoft or its partners will not cold call you, they do not call customers to charge for computer fixes, and they will never contact customers and ask for a credit card number. Hang up on this type of call immediately.

Your Grandchild Needs Help Expand/Collapse

The Scenario: A grandparent receives a frantic call from someone they believe to be their grandchild. The supposed grandchild sounds distressed and may be calling from a noisy location. The supposed grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble while traveling, such as being arrested or in a car accident or needing emergency car repairs, and asks the grandparent to immediately wire money to post bail or pay for medical treatment or car repairs. The scammer typically asks for several thousand dollars, and may even call back again several hours or days later asking for more money. He or she may claim embarrassment about the alleged trouble and ask the grandparent to keep it a secret.

A variation of the scam may involve two scammers — the first scammer calls and poses as a grandchild under arrest. The second scammer, posing as some type of law enforcement officer, then gets on the phone with the grandparent and explains what fines need to be paid. Alternatively, the scammer may pretend to be a family friend or neighbor.

The Scam: The callers are scammers trying to steal money. They are often professional criminals who are skillfully able to get you to wire money or give personal information before you have time to properly assess the situation.  A common theme of the scam is the caller’s request for the grandparent to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram or to provide bank account routing numbers. Wiring money is like sending cash; there are no protections for the sender. Typically there is no way you can reverse the transaction, trace the money, or recover payment from the telephone con artists.

Your Parcel Is On The Way Expand/Collapse

The scenario:    An email is sent to an individual’s inbox informing them that their package is being shipped or parcel is on its way. The individual can find tracking information by clicking a link included in the email.

The scam:    The email is sent from a scammer imitating a legitimate organization and there is a virus attached to the email. During busy shopping seasons like the holidays, individuals can be expecting messages like this and be more eager to open the message. Before opening an email of this nature in your inbox, ask yourself:

  • Did I order anything (either online or by catalogue)
  • Did I give them this email address
  • Is this the right courier service
  • Have I already received tracking coordinates for my recent orders

Account Has Been Compromised Expand/Collapse

The scenario:    A credit union member receives an email notifying them that their account has been compromised or that they need to answer a few questions about their personal or work information as a security update.

The scam:    The email is not from their credit union or Credit Union Central of Canada, it is a scammerlooking to collect personal information. Your credit union would never solicit you via email for this type of personal information. If an individual is asked to provide personal information or has been told their account has been compromised they should contact their branch directly and immediately.

Mystery Shopper Expand/Collapse

The scenario:   A company invites an individual to be a customer service evaluator or mystery shopper. In exchange for scoring various retail stores and money transfer agents on their customer service skills the mystery shopper is paid a small fee and given the money to make purchases at the assigned locations.

The scam:    The company sends the hired mystery shopper a bank draft or cheque which they are to deposit to their own personal account. The mystery shopper then spends a set amount of money from their account at identified stores, evaluates each retail store or money transfer agent and is asked to return surplus money via Western Union or similar wire service. The cheque is a counterfeit and the mystery shopper is left paying their credit union back for the money spent and wired to the scammers.

Online Classifieds Expand/Collapse

The scenario  An individual posts a high value item for sale on an online classifieds site such as Kijiji or InfoMall. An interested buyer, usually from out of province, contacts the seller and makes arrangements to send a bank draft, travelers cheques or money orders  to purchase the item.

The scam:   The buyer sends a bank draft higher in value than the asking price of the item and asks the seller to send them back the difference. The cheque is a fake and the seller loses their item and is left paying their credit union back for the money sent back to the scammer.

Inheritance and Lottery Expand/Collapse

The scenario:  An individual is contacted by a firm claiming to represent the estate of a deceased wealthy distant relative or a lottery commission with the advice they have been identified as the beneficiary or winner as the case maybe.  The firm offers to assist with the claim for the funds and deal with the legal and tax issues involved.  The “winner” has to provide some expense money for legal fees, court costs, and taxes and money is to be wired to the firm’s bank, usually foreign.

The scam The individual has nothing coming to them.  The legal fees, court costs and taxes simply line the pockets of the scammer.

High Return Investment Expand/Collapse

The scenario:   An individual is approached to make a no-risk, high return investment in an overseas company. The investment opportunity takes the individual’s funds and loans them to small business owners; the company used has promised collateral in case the loan is not repaid, and the investor is guaranteed a high daily or weekly return in the form of interest payment over a set length of time.

The scam:   The company is illegitimate and returns may never actually make it back to the Canadian investor.

Fraud Targeting Businesses Expand/Collapse

The scenario: The fraudster presents a new Visa or Mastercard Debit Card to use at a POS machine. While one fraudster distracts the cashiers the other one manually keys in a credit card number and expiry date. The receipt indicates the transaction is manually keyed and a signature line is produced. The cashier then gets the customer to sign the receipt without asking for ID.

Fraudsters are also producing counterfit credit cards that contain data from legitimate cards. Merchants are asked to watch closely for credit cards that may not have legitimate security features such as holograms and chip technology.

The Scam: The merchant is left with the cost and is unaware until the chargeback is sent from the banks, potentially weeks later.


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