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Richmond RCMP warns against scams

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 12:00 PDT, Fri July 31, 2020

Richmond RCMP have two new initiatives that aim to combat ongoing telephone scams.

In the first initiative, RCMP will communicate with local businesses to educate employees about signs to watch for and key questions to ask if someone purchases a large sum of gift cards—particularly Google Play or iTunes cards.

In a second campaign, RCMP will supply businesses with a poster or sticker to put up near bitcoin machines, gift card carrousels or tills. The material is aimed at catching the attention of potential victims.

“The idea for these two initiatives came about after a quick-thinking store employee prevented one of our officers’ parents from being defrauded,” says Cpl. Adriana Peralta. “From that (incident) we decided to start an education initiative that focuses on training employees and store owners to help them recognize and assist in preventing people from being scammed.”

The material has already been sent to businesses registered on Richmond RCMP Business Link. Officers from the community policing unit, along with volunteers, are also going door-to-door to provide the information to local businesses not registered with RCMP Business Link.

RCMP also advises the public to remain vigilant, and to remember that government agencies do not accept bitcoin, Google Play or iTunes gift cards as methods of payment. Some legitimate businesses may accept bitcoin, but none will accept these gift cards as payment. 

Fraudsters may be able to spoof legitimate business or government agency phone numbers. Research companies to confirm their legitimacy or visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online for more information on protecting yourself from scams.

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