KINGS COUNTY – Police are warning Nova Scotian residents to be wary of phone scams aimed at tugging heartstrings this holiday season after several were reported in Kings County.
The RCMP have issued a release after its Kings District location began receiving what they refer to as holiday heartstring scams, which the release defines as involving “scammers using tactics to pull at victim’s heartstrings and emotions.”
Police say these scams include three separate tactics, including the Grandparent Scam, where scammers contact people, claim to be their grandchild in trouble and “may ask the grandparent to guess who it is before identifying themselves as that name before asking the grandparent to send money and not tell anyone.”
The second of these scams is the Loss of Family Member Scam, which police say involves the scammer using an obituary to contact people who’ve recently lost someone. The scammer then claims the deceased has unpaid bills or debts that need to be paid immediately.
The third scam RCMP are warning the public to watch for is called the Love Interest Scam, in which scammers meeting victims online or in person, express romantic interest and continue communication to earn their trust. Police say this can lead to the scammer asking for an emergency loan they say is to pay a bill or rent.
“These types of scams often end in financial loss and a broken heart,” says the release.
RCMP are offering the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Never wire money to anyone before confirming their identity.
- Keep cellphone numbers for your children and grandchildren somewhere you can easily locate them.
- Arrange to have a trusted family member or friend handle all financial matters in the days following the loss of a loved one.
- Keep your personal and financial documents locked at home in a safe place - do not carry them with you or share them with anyone.
- Share this information with your loved ones to protect them from being a victim.
Police also emphasize these scams are in addition to scammers continuing to impersonate Canada Revenue Agency employees, RCMP and other agencies with phone calls asking for money or threatening people with arrests.
Police are asking anyone who’s personally fallen victim or knows someone affected by a scam to report it to local police, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.