North Saanich resident warns others of phone scam

Police say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If what someone tells you seems too good to be true, then it probably is. And if someone calls you, or emails you and asks for personal or financial information — even if that person seems to represent legitimate business or government agency — just don’t give it to them.

Chances are, it is a scam.

That’s the warning North Saanich resident Fritz Boehm wants people to receive after he and his wife were called this month by someone purporting to be from Revenue Canada.

“It was very well done and it is a dangerous thing,” Boehm said of the call. “I think a lot of peoplecould lose their identity.”

The caller had identified themselves as being from Revenue Canada, asking the Boehms to call back. When they did, the person on the other end of the phone had their social insurance number and other personal information. The conversationsoon turned to finances.

That’s when they cut the call short and placed a call to their own accountant.

“They confirmed it was a scam,” Boehm said.

He said they called the RCMP and then the News Review, wanting to warn others.

“There are so many older people here,” he said. “If they get that phone call, they might end up giving out their personal information.”

Corporal Erin Fraser of the Sidney North Saanich RCMP says scammers are getting more and more sophisticated in their schemes and many are masquerading as legitimate businesses, charities and government agencies. Combating them, she said, comes down to a simple rule of thumb — “don’t give away your information over the phone or by email,” she said.

The only time that is okay, Fraser continued, is if you call your financial institution or other agency yourself.

“If you are called and asked (for personal or financial information), don’t do it.”

She added it’s difficult for police to investigate such scams, as the dollar amount is relatively small and many of the scams originate in other countries.

Fraudulent activity such as the grandson scam — where someone calls an elderly person, claiming to be a relative in trouble and asking for money — is still quite common around the Saanich Peninsula.

Fraser urges people, if they receive such calls or emails they suspect are scams, to call the police.

Information about scams and how to recognize them can be found at the Canadian Anti- Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre. ca.