Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Following a peculiar phone call from a man after an interview with her appeared in Peace Arch News, a Langley resident called the newspaper Thursday to confirm her suspicion.

Linda Bellamy said she received a phone call from a man Thursday. The man, who called from a Connecticut phone number, didn’t identify himself during the brief telephone conversation.

Bellamy told PAN that he asked for her email address so that he could email her the “design layout” for a news article PAN wrote about her and her mother Linda Vohlidka last February. The article was a feature on a crochet circle Bellamy started at Whitecliff Retirement Residence, where participants would make sleeping mats for homeless people out of plastic grocery bags.

Bellamy didn’t provide her email address to the man, and ended the conversation.

The man called a second time Friday.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre acting call centre manager Jessica Gunson, based out of Ontario, told PAN that Bellamy’s call was unusual, and the intent of the suspected fraudster’s motives are unclear.

“Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to that,” Gunson said Friday.

Gunson said the majority of complaints CAFC receives are based on phishing techniques. Phishing is an attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, for malicious reasons by disguising as a trustworthy entity.

“There’s always a number of reasons why someone would want an email,” she added.

Another possibility, Gunson said, adding that she was only speculating, is that the suspected fraudster may have wanted to email malware or a malicious link, something that could mine personal data from the recipient.

“It’s hard to know what the intent was without having more information,” she added.

Gunson offered some tips to the public to protect themselves from scammers.

“Right off the bat, if you’re receiving an unknown call or receiving a call from a number you don’t recognize, our number one recommendation is don’t pick up,” she said.

Gunson, who said she regularly receives suspicious calls from 800- and 855-area-code numbers, says she routinely lets the call ring to voice mail.

“If it’s really important, they will leave me a message. If something is urgent, and if someone needs to get a hold of me, those who need to get a hold of me know how to reach me.”

The most popular scam CAFC is dealing with at the moment – across the country – is fraudsters pretending to be representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

“That’s what we’re receiving non-stop here, 100 per cent. It’s something that our centre here is inundated with,” Gunson said.

Victims, and potential victims, reported to CAFC that the caller display read CRA when they answered the phone.

“Call spoofing is out there, it’s not illegal but the frauds behind it are,” she added.

Call spoofing is a technique that will mask the identification of a phone number. Fraudsters use it to dupe victims into thinking that they’re dealing with a legitimate representative.

“When a scammer calls and tells you that you’re being investigated for tax fraud, it’s a lie to get you to send iTune cards, Steam cards, bitcoin. That’s the endgame.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Visit us at peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alberni wrestler heads to University of the Fraser Valley to compete

Ravi Manhas is one of 10 recruits signed to the Cascades for 2018-19

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Construction on Hwy. 4 halted after tree crashes into traffic

Trees are being cleared along the highway between Port Alberni and the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Most Read