Home and Cell Phone Scams

·4 min read

Scammers are prevalent at all times, and even more so now while many are at home due to COVID-19. More and more seem to call or text and cause hardships for many residents. What can you do if you get a scammer trying to take your hard-earned money?

Some of the main scams out there lately are ringing our phones off the hook. According to Saskcrimestoppers.com, there are about 7 well-known scams that are going on and it’s disgusting how low the scams are getting.

STARS is the helicopter ambulance that is widely utilized in Saskatchewan and STARS runs a donation drive every year. There is also a scam going on using STARS as the hook to get your money.

“Your social insurance number is under investigation for fraudulent purchases” from a local 896 (Churchbridge 3 digit id number), claiming to be the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). It’s unusual to have a CRA office in each of our small towns and this is fishy.

Numerous Saskatchewan RCMP detachments have received information about a telephone-based scam occurring in the province. The caller identifies themselves as an officer with the Canada Revenue Agency and informs the victim that their SIN has been involved in crime and attempts to learn the victim's banking information and SIN. During the call, the caller asks for the victim's local RCMP Detachment and phone number stating that an officer will call them. The caller then uses a device to mimic the local police department's phone number on caller ID and has an accomplice call the victim to provide confirmation of the initial caller's scam posing as a local Police Officer.

The RCMP wants to make the public aware of this situation and to advise you to never provide personal details over the phone without confirming who the caller is. Should you receive a call that you are unsure of the best way to prevent becoming the victim of a crime is to ask the caller their name, agency they work for, a call back number, and then do your own research. Check the phone book or internet for the agency the caller claimed to work for and then call that number. (https://saskcrimestoppers.com/cases/fraudulent-phone-scam)

But what are we to do about these harassing phone calls or texts?

A recent visit to SaskTel’s web page shows there is a large amount of information they provide to handle these aggravating situations.

If you receive a threatening or indecent phone call, contact the police to file a report. You'll need to record details for the police, as follows.

If you're getting harassing phone calls on your cell phone, write down the time and date of each call. Please note that Call Trace, described below, won't work on a wireless phone.

If you get unwanted text messages (spam), don't reply or visit websites they mention, you won't be charged for these messages.

On a home phone, you can use Call Trace to identify your last incoming call for an official investigation. It's available free to all customers for help with threatening, harassing, or obscene phone calls. Call Trace will trace blocked numbers.

Tracing your last incoming call

It's important to activate Call Trace as soon as possible. Trace information is only available until another call comes in.

It is recommended to use Call Trace on 5 calls within a 2-week period. Report the problem to the police after tracing 5 calls.

Important: Even if you can see the caller's phone number, you have to use Call Trace before reporting harassing calls to the police.

Trace information is only released to the police or the SaskTel Security department; it won't be provided to you.

If you would like to reduce the unwanted phone calls it is suggested you jump online and visit SaskTel at Home > Support > Reducing unwanted phone calls. This webpage gives you several suggestions on how to get rid of those unwanted calls. You can also go to https://saskcrimestoppers.com/cases/psa to find out the latest scams being investigated across the province as well as to report one or give a tip.

Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal