Telephone rip-off focusing on Fort St John and space

Fort St John RCMP are warning residents of a phone scam in the Peace Region.

The Fort St John RCMP wish to make the public aware of a new phone scam technique being used in the local area. The detachment received over eight phone calls yesterday and an additional six on Aug 2, from people reporting they were told they have a warrant for their arrest.

Members of the public are receiving phone calls and being told by a clearly robotic voice that the Canada Border Services has intercepted a package with their name on it, containing illegal contraband (or a suspicious package of some kind) and that a warrant has been put out for their arrest. Then the robot voice tells them to push one to speak to an agent.

This scam appears to have some credibility because the call display shows the phone call is originating from what appears to be the Fort St John RCMP.  The fraudsters are utilizing technology that allows them to use what appears to be a different phone number which is called “spoofing”.

“People are calling and attending the detachment in person because this scam instills fear,” said Constable Chad Neustaeter, Media Relation Officer for the Fort St John RCMP. “In a time when online shopping is at an all time high and many people are ordering products that come from outside of Canada, this technique can be very effective in getting people to respond.”

At this point it is unknown what happens when the receiving person pushes one as most people have only received a phone message and have called the detachment to determine the validity of the warrant.  When individuals have tried calling the displayed number back, it usually goes back to a legitimate business or individual who doesn’t know what the call was about.

A red flag that can tip you off to a potential scams is the fraudsters use of a digital or robot voice recorded message requesting your response. Law enforcement agencies don’t use digital voice messages for important information such as warrants but will call in person and discuss the matter.

This information was provided by Fort St John RCMP.

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