Fraudster claiming to be a Police officer steals thousands from North Okanagan residents

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Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

RCMP are alerting the public of a police impersonation scam that led to two North Okanagan residents losing thousands of dollars.

Police received two separate reports of fraudsters pretending to be police officers and convincing victims into purchasing and giving the fraudster thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.

One victim lost $3,500 while another lost $2,000.

In both cases, the phone number was altered to display a trusted phone number: the Enderby and Armstrong RCMP offices’ non-emergency lines.

The fraudster made the scam so realistic by providing a fake name, rank and even badge number, according to Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.

“Police officers will never request monetary payments, ask for gift cards, or attempt to solicit any financial information over the telephone, or email,” Terleski said. “If someone contacts you, identifies as a police officer, and asks for any of these things or threatens you in any way, end the call immediately. If the person keeps pressuring you or threatens you, it’s not legitimate and you are doing the right thing by hanging up.”

RCMP provided the following tips for how to recognize, reject and report a case of fraud:

“• Never assume the caller is who they say they are simply because they have some basic info such as your address or your birthdate

• If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you are talking to

• Never give out any personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers

• Never pay a debt by crypto-currencies such as bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others”

If you have not provided personal information or lost any money, you do not need to contact your local police, as you would not be considered a victim of fraud. North Okanagan residents are instead encouraged to report this, or any other frauds to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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