The NT RCMP are reminding residents to beware of online scams after a man from an NWT community suffered thousands of dollars in personal losses.
The man, whose identity is being protected, was contacted via Facebook messenger earlier this month. He was told that he won a cash prize but in order to claim it he would have to purchase thousands of dollars of gift cards and send the pin numbers to the suspect. The victim believed the interaction to be legitimate and complied.
RCMP advise that this scam has surfaced in varying versions over recent years. In some cases, like this one, victims are asked to send gift cards or money with a promise of a larger cash prize. In other cases, suspects obtain employment details through online phishing techniques and pose as victims’ bosses to create a sense of urgency to send the gift card information right away.
“NT RCMP would like to remind people that if you are solicited to buy gift cards or send money to someone outside your circle of family and very close friends, it is very likely a scam,” they said in a news release Friday.
“The RCMP also urges business owners to be alert to this scam, and question customers who are buying large amounts of gift cards, to make sure the person is not the unsuspecting victim of a fraud.”
As the suspects of online scams are often from other countries, “this type of fraud is easy to prevent, but very difficult to investigate,” Staff Sgt. Dean Riou said.
Frauds and scams come in all different shapes and sizes. Examples can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) website.
Anyone with information on fraud or any other criminal activity is asked to call Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111, or text: “nwtnutips” plus your message to 274637.