Over the past few days, Cochrane RCMP have investigated a number of frauds involving prepaid cards. Victims are being called by unknown individuals claiming to be from different agencies such as ATCO, ENMAX and EPCORE and stating that if the victim does not pay their bill within a short timeframe their utilities will be shut off. The caller then states the victim must buy a set dollar amount of prepaid cards and call them back with the digit code on the back of the prepaid card. The cards being asked to buy are gift cards like iTunes card or gas cards.
The RCMP are reminding the public to use caution when dealing with collection telephone calls. Agencies will not ask for you to pay your outstanding balances with gift cards such as an iTunes card or a gas cards. You will typically get reminders on your monthly statements of an outstanding balance before the company will call you or before they will their files to collection agencies (which also will not ask for gift cards as payment). If you are in doubt, check your last statement and your records before paying; call the numbers for the agencies as they appear on the statements or on your files to verify they have enlisted outside help to collect their fees.
Never give personal or banking information out over the phone.
If an agency is going to cut the utilities they provide off, you will get more than a days’ notice, if you are being given only hours or minutes to pay before being disconnected, it may not be a real agency.
The RCMP are also getting complaints of fraudulent Canada Revenue Agency phone calls still. Again, do not give your personal information out over the phone.
Ask for their agent number and call the Canada Revenue Agency directly, not one provided from the caller and check that it is a real number.
If anyone has information about this, or any other crimes, is asked to please contact the Cochrane RCMP at (403) 851-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).