From Cnst. Kris Clark, Kelowna RCMP
Although the threat of many different types of fraud is ever-present, the Kelowna RCMP has seen a resurgence in service scams and money transfer requests recently.
The two most recently reported service scams in Kelowna are the antivirus software scam and credit card interest rate reduction scams.
Antivirus software scam
The scammer promises to repair your computer over the Internet, which often involves the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card. Often times, you pay for a program that actually does nothing, or is malicious in nature. Allowing remote access to your computer, or downloading unknown software may compromise your personal information such as user names and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.
Credit card interest rate reduction scam
The scammers prey on people’s desire for a better deal. They often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest. The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now, but in reality, your interest rates won’t change and you will be out the cash you paid for the phoney service.
Money transfer request scam
Money transfer requests are mostly dominated by variations of the Nigerian scam which has been around for nearly 20 years. In the most recently reported form, the target receives a letter with a cheque enclosed and instructions. The cheque is to be deposited in the target account and part of it to be wired by a specified service to one or more people. The cheque is usually a fake and leaves you paying the bill.
From the Peachland Wellness Centre
I need a tow scam
The following email was sent to the Peachland Wellness Centre by an anonymous Peachland resident and circulated through the centre’s mailing list. (Edited for clarity.)
On Saturday afternoon, a man, 6 feet in height, medium build, clean cut, aged 35ish, entered my backyard and said his car had broken down and he needed $40 in order to have enough for a tow and that he was having difficulty getting a hold of any family members to help. He seemed apologetic and sheepish about asking for the money.
He said his name was Jason Poppoff and would be back in an hour. Sadly I gave him the $40. I felt it was okay as he left a phone number, etc. He was quite convincing, clean cut, etc.
Needless to say he did not return and when I called the number, well you get it.
Sunday morning I called the police, feeling stupid, but thought I should report it anyway.
It turns out this guy has been doing this for years with the same story about the broken vehicle. They know who he is and he is recently out of jail for same fraud. He works the hospital area out to KLO in Kelowna and has recently been active on the Westside, as far as Peachland.
If you meet a man named Jason Poppoff and he says his car is broken down and he needs just a little extra for a tow, call the police. Constable Brian Dodds has a five page history.
Spread the word to your friends and coworkers.
P.S. The police were thankful I called and understood I was embarrassed about being duped. They will be putting a media alert out, as most people don’t report the crime due to the low dollar amount involved and embarrassment.
“Despite the vast number of frauds and scams, they all really have the same purpose: to make you part with your money and/or personal information,” said Cnst. Kris Clark.
For more information on scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca