A Creston resident is warning the community to stay vigilant after she, her mom and her grandma received phone calls this week from scammers posing as police officers.
The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said that the first call she received was on Oct. 21 from a Penticton phone number.
“I’m originally from Penticton, so I picked it up. It was a voice-automated man speaking and it said that they received my file regarding fraud with my social insurance number,” said the woman. “To speak to an officer regarding this matter, the voice said to press one.”
Upon dialling one, she said that the call was transferred to a man who said his name was officer Henry Wallace, who then asked that she write down his badge number to verify his authenticity, and to have it in case the call was dropped.
“He said that he’s an officer with Service BC, and there’s been several instances where there’s been scams and fraud with social insurance numbers,” she said. “He said that there seems to be some charges on my account and that I could go to court.”
Although she hasn’t lived in Penticton for quite some time now, she said that she originally believed that the call was genuine after the man confirmed her name and her former Penticton address.
“He was very calm on the phone. After that, he said that to move forward — for security purposes — he asked me to repeat the three last digits of my social insurance number. I immediately said no,” she said.
She then asked the man to repeat her social insurance number, since he claimed to have it in front of him.
“He didn’t want to do that, and he said that he’s suspending my social insurance number. I just hung up,” she said.
She then called the Penticton RCMP, who confirmed to her that the caller was indeed a scammer.
“The Penticton RCMP officer said people are doing all kinds of different scams. This is just one variation of it,” she said.
About half an hour later, she said that she received another call from a voice-automated machine that re-directed her to another individual posing as an officer. This time, the number originated from Ontario.
“Out of curiosity, I pushed one to speak to an officer, and he asked me to state my name. The first call had my name, and the second one needed my name,” she said. “I gave him a fake name and told him I live in Victoria. He said that I wasn’t giving him correct information, and he ended up hanging up on me.”
That same day, she said that both her mom and grandma received calls from the two phone numbers, but neither picked up after she advised them that they were scammers.
“If you’re being charged with anything, the policeman will show up your door and serve you papers. They’re not going to call,” she said.
She said that she wanted to spread the word to help prevent residents from falling victim to these same scammers.
“The first caller was very calm, but he started being firm when I didn’t give my social insurance number. If I didn’t know any better, he could’ve been quite scary,” she said. “Don’t ever give your social insurance number or any pertinent information over the phone.”
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