The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Fraud Unit would once again like to inform the public of several scams that are targeting our city. Police have recently received an influx in the amount of these type of complaints.
Mystery Shopper Scam
Ads are placed online or in newspapers for a position as mystery shopper. Persons applying receive notice via mail that they have been accepted as a candidate but they must act quickly as there is a lot of competition for this job. The communication letter is very professional and appears to be from a legitimate source. Generally, a cheque is included in this letter with instructions on how it is to be spent including a portion to do the mystery shopping, a portion for wage, and a portion to be sent via western union to a third party. This is a scam. If the instructions are followed, and the money is sent, it’s gone. Soon thereafter, the bank will call to let the victim know that the cheque bounced.
If the company is reputable, then there wouldn’t be a need to use third party means to provide monies through transfer methods, a bank would be used.
Apartment Rental Scam
Ads are placed online or in newspapers to rent an apartment or home. A reply to the ad is sent by a victim and the fraudster will send lengthy emails about wanting to make sure that they don’t get taken advantage of in the rental. Official looking agreements will be sent. An offer to meet and show the rental is established and before meeting an email will be sent saying that the spouse or the individual is concerned that they may be wasting their time coming to show the rental. The fraudster will want to know that the victim is serious and ask that they go to Western Union and send money. The trick here is that the fraudster will ask that the money be sent to the victim’s family member or someone they trust and that the trusted person doesn’t need to cash it. A copy of the receipt is to be sent to the fraudster to show that the funds exist. Here’s the catch, the fraudster, with that copy, will go cash it and the money is gone. There is no rental.
Reminder regarding telemarketing scams and mail fraud/identity theft:
Criminals will hide behind the anonymity of the telephone and mail to try and swindle thousands of Canadians each year. Criminals tend to use the same selling strategies as legitimate companies to lure people. If you get a phone call, email or letter that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
If you are a victim of fraud or have any question, contact the Sault Ste. Marie Fraud Unit at 705-949-6300 ext 385.