Over the past couple of days police have been receiving complaints of a phone scam in the Central Hastings detachment area. Residents have been receiving telephone calls from people claiming they are Bell Canada employees.
During conversation over upgrading their home telephone service, victims are asked for personal information such as their social insurance number. The BELL website (www.bell.ca) offers the following warning to its customers:
“There have been recent reports of telemarketing “operators” using Bell’s name in order to sell fake rate plans to consumers in an attempt to obtain their personal information, such as their credit card information or social insurance number for fraud purposes. Bell is taking this issue seriously and working with the appropriate authorities in order to help track down the people or organizations that may be involved in these activities.
Unfortunately, these recent incidents are part of a growing trend. Scams artists from everywhere are now engaging in all types of activities, such as “phishing”, posting phony web sites or operating phone scams, while using the brands of trusted companies like Bell to capture bank account information, credit card numbers and other critical information from unsuspecting consumers.
Education is your best protection.
Consumers everywhere are strongly encouraged to beware of prize scams and suspiciously generous offers on behalf of any company. The main signs to look out for are: aggressive marketing tactics, pressure to “act now” (note: very short offer expiry dates reduce the risk of being traced by authorities), instructions to pay administrative fees or additional fees for the delivery of a prize or product, etc.
Do not respond to unsolicited requests for your personal information over the phone or by Internet. No legitimate company, including Bell, would ever call or e-mail their customers requesting information such as passwords, bank account information or a credit card number, unless they were responding to a customer inquiry.
If you suspect that you are being contacted by a fake telemarketer, feel free to end the call and contact the business or organization through its regular channels, for example, 310-Bell.
If you’ve receive a suspicious offer from callers claiming to represent Bell and are concerned about having shared personal information with a scam operator, please contact 310-Bell immediately with as much information as possible about the exact date and time of the call.
If you suspect you’ve been a target of fraud, you should also contact PhoneBusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, at 1-888-495-8501 or phonebusters.com.”
— Central Hastings OPP press release