Financial phone fraud scheme in N.B. lands two Montreal men in jail

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Two men from Montreal are facing charges in New Brunswick in relation to a financial phone fraud scheme.

Police received a report on Tuesday from a person who received a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer who had a family member in custody.

According to police, the man claiming to be a member of law enforcement demanded a large sum of money in order to have the family member released from jail. Police say the caller then arrived at the individual’s home a short time later to collect the ransom.

As the week went on, members of the New Brunswick RCMP and Fredericton Police Force were alerted to reports of similar incidents in the Oromocto area.

Police in Oromocto received a tip on Thursday related to the same phone scheme. A 30-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, both from Montreal, were then arrested in Oromocto.

The two men, Saleh Abdalla Saleh Mohammed and Manasseh Kebede, appeared virtually in Fredericton provincial court on Friday. They were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud over $5,000. Both men will remain in custody pending a court appearance on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

“Be cautious of any call you receive from a number you do not recognize, especially if you are being asked for a large sum of money,” says Cpl. Hans Ouellette of the New Brunswick RCMP in a news release. “This type of scam often targets senior citizens that have limited access to the internet or who don’t use social media, and preys on the fear of a loved one being hurt or in trouble.”

The RCMP has provided the following tips and information to help individuals and their loved ones avoid falling victim to a fraud scheme:

• If you receive one of these calls, do not provide confidential personal or financial information over the phone or online.

• Hang up the phone immediately if you believe a scammer is calling you.

• Call a family member or the police agency using a phone number from a reputable source – not one provided by the suspected fraudster – so you can verify whether a request is real and what you need to do.

• Report the call to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you have been a victim of fraud, also contact your local police and your financial institution.

“It’s important to keep family members informed about scams so that they don’t become a victim,” adds Ouellette. “We also want to advise the public that the Canadian Criminal Justice System does not allow for someone to be bailed out of jail with cash or money.”

The investigation is ongoing.

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