Fraud warning issued

In the last few weeks, several people have reported a lottery prize scam

  • Mar. 1, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Vernon residents are urged to find out about the latest scams in the region in order to protect themselves from fraud.

In the last few weeks, several people have reported a lottery prize scam with the offer of a large prize after providing personal and banking details.

“The community policing office has received notice that a resident has fallen victim to the Microsoft scam where a caller says they are from Microsoft, and that there is a problem with their computer,” said Rachael Zubick, co-ordinator of Vernon’s community policing office.

“The scammer then asks for credit card info to pay for the computer to be fixed. The senior involved was scammed for several hundred dollars.”

Zubick says seniors can be especially vulnerable as certain scams target the older generation.

“For example, a fake lawyer or fake grandchild may claim money is urgently needed to get a loved one out of trouble. The targeted individual is told to send funds that then disappear into the hands of invisible crooks,” she said.

Another fraud, called the Nigerian letter scam, seeks a person’s bank details. It offers victims an inheritance from an unknown relative or a percentage of some big money that must be transferred overseas.

“The good weather is expected to draw out service scammers,” said Zubick.

“Some go from door-to-door offering to do repairs on a home and then ask for astronomical sums once the intimidated homeowner has agreed to the work. Service scams can also be made by telephone, from someone offering cheap Internet, medical or financial services in order to obtain personal information. These types of scams can also be for offerings of antivirus software and for credit card interest rate reduction schemes.”

March is Fraud Prevention Month.

Never give out personal, confidential information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiated contact and know who you are dealing with.

Protect your banking information. Never reveal your PIN or passwords to anyone including bank employees and family.

Keep your personal information safe. Shred all receipts and credit card statements.