Telemarketing Extortion Scams

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 18:30
Thunder Bay
Date Published: 2017-11-20

The Thunder Bay Police Service has received numerous complaints regarding telemarketing extortion scams, and would like remind citizens to be extra vigilant when receiving phone calls from anyone requesting payments.

One of the more popular extortion scams citizens are reporting involves the attempt to defraud people of their money through gift card purchases. The target of this scam receives a phone call from a person claiming to represent an organization. Oftentimes the caller claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. The caller attempts to instill panic in the target, telling them they must immediately pay a sum of money. These callers can be very aggressive, and may say police are en route to make an arrest because of the alleged debt.

The caller will offer the target an opportunity to clear the debt by transferring gift cards, like iTunes or Steam cards. The would-be victim is encouraged to purchase gift cards and share the code on the back to the caller. By doing this the scammer is able to collect the purchased gift card to use or re-sell.

The Thunder Bay Police Service would like to remind citizens that they have the right to hang up the phone when they suspect they are the target of a scam. Contact the agency directly to deal with the matter. The Canada Revenue Agency, utility companies, banks and other such institutions will not request payments via gift cards.

To learn more about fraud and how to protect yourself from this or other scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at:


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