Police Put Out Warning After Worrying New Scam Emerges in Halton
Most people know to beware of scams, but not everyone is internet savvy or aware of how convincing online fraud schemes have become.
For that reason, local police are reminding residents to avoid clicking links on scary-sounding emails about debit cards being disabled.
No, your card hasn't been disabled. Don't click the link if you receive a similar text - it's fraudulent. Contact your bank directly to check the status of your card, account number, etc. #ScamAlert #FraudPrevention pic.twitter.com/DSjeE75wQX— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPoliceMedia) December 30, 2018
In a recent Tweet, police shared a message purporting to be from RBC advising a “customer” that their client card has been disabled. The message asks the reader to secure their account by clicking on a convincing link
“No, your card hasn’t been disabled,” police say. “Don’t click the link if you receive a similar text - it’s fraudulent. Contact your bank directly to check the status of your card, account number.”
That advice is good, as banks will not typically contact clients about important or sensitive account information via text or email.
That said, people — especially people who are not terribly familiar with internet culture — fall for what are known as “phishing” scams fairly frequently. These scams are particularly insidious because they often appear to be from legitimate companies and organizations. As for how they work, phishing scams prompt users to click on links and share private information (such as their password, bank account or credit card number) with a source they believe to be trustworthy (their bank or other legitimate financial institution).
In the case of this scam, it’s slightly more believable because RBC client cards do start with “4519.” However, most banks will specify the last four numbers of a client or credit card—not the first four (which are typically unremarkable and rarely unique to one particular customer).
People who receive such texts or emails from their bank, credit card company or other service provider (Rogers, Bell, Cogeco, utility company, etc) advising them that their accounts have been locked or disabled should always call the company to confirm the message before clicking links or providing any personal information.
To avoid an internet or phishing scam, delete any and all emails that seem like junk or spam (replying to “unsubscribe” only confirms that your email address is real).
And again, residents should note that legitimate banks and financial institutions will never ask for sensitive information via text or email.
If you have received an email like this from a sender who appears to be from a legitimate organization (such as RBC), report it to the company and the Canadian anti-fraud centre.
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, you can also contact local police to report the matter.