Nanaimo RCMP is warning residents of a recent rise in online scams and gift card-related fraud in the community.
Mounties say in a recent incident, the victim did not lose any money but did have fake emails sent to many friends requesting money.
Nanaimo RCMP encourages people to protect their online accounts and have released several tips on how to protect yourself against online scams:
Protecting online accounts
Mounties say you should only log into your online accounts on trusted websites and never do so on a public computer.
You should never reveal personal information on social media and should use strong passwords and change them frequently.
You should also make sure any website you visit is legitimate and do not enter personal login information if you are not certain.
Fake phone calls
Mounties are reminding residents that phone numbers and emails can be “spoofed” to look like they’re coming from different sources.
Police recommend that you always double check who you are communicating with, and “do your homework” before making any financial decisions.
Police say you should be wary of anyone who quickly professes their love to you, especially if you have never met.
If they keep making up excuses not to meet in person, claim to live nearby but work overseas, act distressed or try to guilt you into sending money, you should also consider breaking off communication.
“Many people spend the majority of their day online on various platforms. Hackers recognize this and will exploit this,” said Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a release Thursday.
“Unless we are diligent, we are all susceptible to being scammed,” he said.
“Scammers may clone your [Facebook] page, obtain your email address or pretend to be a friend, business partner or a colleague. If you suddenly start receiving requests for money or personal information, alarm bells should be going off.”
Earlier this week, the West Shore RCMP also warned of a recent scam involving fake jewelry in the community.
It’s a scam that has repeatedly appeared in the community since April 2023.
More tips on how to protect yourself from scams can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website.