Fraud Information

The following frauds and scams are circulating within the Town of Amherst and surrounding areas.

Readers Digest Fraud

This fraud is knowns as an "advanced fee fraud". In this case, the fraudsters state that they are from "Reader's Digest". The letter makes the victim believe that they have won a sum of $826,000. The letter also includes a cheque for $8000 payable to the victim which is suppose to cover insurance and administration fees. The victim cashes the cheque into their bank account and then is asked to wire the monies to the fraudster via a wire transfer service such as Western Union or Moneygram. Once the money is transferred the fraudsters disappear and the initial cheque is discovered to be counterfeit by the banks 5-7 days later.

 Reader's Digest Fraud

Microsoft/Apple/Intel Virus Phone Fraud

Individuals are calling people in the Amherst area and stating that they are from "Microsoft, Intel or Apple". They then inform the caller that there are malicious files on their computer and inform them to download some programs to remove the viruses or malware. In at least one instance the phone call originiated from (253) 802-0308. The caller's voice is usually reported to be heavily accented and has been reported as male in most instances. Police believe that the fraudsters are attempting to install viruses or "key loggers" onto the victim's computers so that they can retrieve personal and banking information. APD is advising members of the public to immediately terminate the call if they are contacted by these individuals.

Fee Fraud

This type of fraud is commonly known as an advanced fee fraud. Advance fee frauds usually indicate that a wealthy stranger has died and asks for assistance with banking and moving a large amount of money involving the consumer's bank account. The fraud will then offer to give a percentage of the monies transferred. When a victim contacts the fraudsters they ask for banking information and processing fees. Once the victim provides the advance fees, then the fraudster takes the money and runs.

 Fee Fraud

Grandparents Fraud

The victim received a phone call from someone alleging that they were their "grandson". The fraudster then stated that he was in an accident in Ontario and that the police arrested him for danerous driving. The called then passed the phone over to a person pretending to be a lawyer. This "lawyer" then explained that a large fine was required to avoid criminal charges again the grandchild. Both the grandson and the lawyer then requested monies be transferred via Western Union or Moneygram. Typically, the fraudsters request that the grandparent keep the information confidential in order to avoid embarrassment on the grandchild. In the case that we received, the grandparent hung up at this point. It was also discovered that her grandson was safe and sound and never in an accident. This fraud is commonly known as "emergency fraud", "grandparent fraud" or "It's me fraud". The fraud is known as "It's me fraud" because the fraudster will open the phone by stating: "It's me grandma". The senior will then usually state their grandson or granddaughters name which now give the fraudsters new information to continue with their fraud scheme. The public is advised to terminate the call if they receive this type of scam and to report the matter to our Department. Residents that live outside our jurisdicktion are advised to contact their local police force.

Publishers Clearing House Fraud

Residents in our area are receiving letters from a company identifying itself as "Publisher Clearing House". The company further states that the mail recipient has won a cash reward of $958,000 USD. The letter further requests the mail recipient to call the company to arrange for the prize disbursement. The fraudster on the phone will then request banking information to be provided in order to release the prize. Sweepstakes scammers work hard to convince people that they have won a prize and one of the most common tactics is to disguise themselves as a legitimate company. According to the Publishers Clearing House website "All prizes of $500 or greater are awarded by either certified or express letter or in person ..." It appears that Publishers Clearing House will not send out prizes via mail or phone and bulk mailing and phone calls appear to be the method of choice by most scammers.

Lower Interest Rate Scam

A female in Amherst area reported being called by a company who offered to lower the interest rate on her credit card. The female was charged $395 USD for this service. The fraudsters then attempted a second call to her where they offered her a business opportunity of franchising. This "opportunity" would have the victim call up other victims and offer to lower the interst rates on their cards. The scam artists offered over $10,000 for the work. In the end, the female victim was defrauded of over $400 and did not received what was promised. The public was advised that if they wish to lower their interest rates, that they should self initiate the call to the bank or from the number on their card. Very rarely would you have a situation where a legit solicitor would be working for all the different caredit card agencies. Research any deal and do not get pressured in making a decision quickly on the phone.

Readers Digest Fraud

This fraud is another scam using the Reader's Digest name. The scammer states that the person has won over two million dollars. When the prize receipient calls the number, the scammer requests prize fees to be transferred to them through a money transfer system like Moneygram or Western Union. This popularly known as advanced fee fraud.

 Readers Digest Fraud

Kijiji Scam

An Amherst resident was selling a sofa on the popular buy/sell website kijiji. They received an email from a female who stated that she was hearing impaired and that she lives on the border and that she was buying the furniture for a friend in the U.S.A The email stated that she could not use the phone. The scammer then requests that they send a cheque for the product. The cheque most likely would have been counterfeit and the victim would have sent the product or had been instructed to forward excess fees to the scammer. This scam is very popular on kijiji. Typically the fraudster will usually say that they can only communicate through email (ie. out in sea, living in remote region etc). Police are recommending that when residents are selling or buying items from Kijiji that they avoid money transfer and cheques. Cash is probably the safest bet. Residents should also be wary when dealing with international or foreign buyers who will use "a middle man" to facilitate the sale.

Inheritance Letter Scam

Inheritance Letter Scam -Example 1 (29.17 kB)& Inheritance Letter Scam - Example 2 (20.15 kB)& Inheritance Letter Scam - Example 3 (48.71 kB)& Inheritance Letter Scam - Example 4 (58.17 kB)- A victim receives a request via letter stating that a very wealthy stranger has died. The letter, which claims to be written by a lawyer stresses the urgency and confidentiality of the transaction, the importance of trust and honestly (to make the victim believe that the letter is valid). The letter writer asks for assistance with banking and moving a large amount of money involving the victim's bank account and asks the victim to share in the wealth. The victim is offered a significant percentage of the amount for simply providing his/her bank details. Once the victim contacts the scammer, the scammer will normally ask for processing fees etc. The victim provides the fees to the scammer and never gets any portion of the ficitional inheritance.

National Lottery Fraud

This is another example of an advance fee fraud. The fraud claims to be affiliated with several phone companies and shopping centres. The fraudsters state that the receipient has won a total of $51,950 and encloses as cheque for $1,650 for "administration fees". The letter urges the letter receipient to cash the cheque and send the $1,650 to them via western union or moneygram. Once the recepient sends the money, they never hear from the fraudsters again and 7-10 days later, the cheque that they initially cashed into their bank accounts ends up counterfeit. A couple of things in this letter help show a pattern in most advance fee frauds. The fraudsters will usually use a money transfer system. The fraudsters also request that you always keep the correspondence confidential so that the victim does not get persuaded out of participating in the fraud. The fraudsters ten to state that their "contest" is affiliated with a whole slew of businesses who normally do not associate with one another. Lastly, these frauds tend to have foreign phone numbers attached to them.

 National Lottery Fraud

Florida Rental Scam

This fraud is circulating on Kijiji and what the scammers attempt to do is fraudulently rent breach front houses in Florida. In this case, the victim had the sense to do some back checking and discovered that the scammers were not the owners of the property. Typically the scammers will ask for an up to date rental fee to be prepaid to them and in this case they wanted the monies transferred via pay pal. Reading through the emails from the victim and the fraudster there are some tell tale signs that this is a scam. The emails used are all generic hotmail or live accounts. The "seller's" writing is poor and indicates that the fraudster is possibly foreign. The "seller" indicates that they are far away (Geneva) and therefore cannot respond except through email. The ad is renting the property for a fraction of the going rate. The "seller" states "its not all about the money, but giving priveleges to people to enjoy and have the best list can offer". Dead giveaway.

 Florida Rental Scam

Email Fraud

Email fraud is when the fraudster is attempting to get personal information from the victim. The suspect will probably afterwards, contact the victim and attempt to solicit money in "interest fees" or "taxes" for the prize.

 Email Fraud

Canada Revenue Agency

This is a common scam that could result in identity and financial theft. The Canada Revenue Agency would never ask for credit card, bank account or passport numbers in an email. Residents should not click on any links in an email as it could contain embedded malicious software or it may redirect the user to a fraudulent webpage where the scammer will ask for personal information. These emails often have the Canada Revenue Agency logos on them in an attempt to make them look legit. A common give away is that many of these emails have numberous grammatical or spelling mistakes. To view the Canada Revenue Agency press release please click on this link. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/lrts/2014/l140307-eng.html