Rita Weber had a funny feeling. The Elmira resident was eating breakfast on her back deck Tuesday morning when a call came in from a man claiming to work for Visa.
“It was a gentleman with a heavy foreign accent,” she said. “He said his name was Brian, and he said that he was with the security branch with Visa and that he wanted to inform me that there had been a $700 purchase put on my Visa card.”
Understanding that phone scams are commonplace, Weber had her guard up, and politely asked for the caller’s telephone number so that she could call him back after verifying the information.
She already had his number – it had come up on her television screen’s caller identification application – but she wanted to see how he would react.
Sure enough, the man hung up on her.
“So I called back to the number,” she said. “It was an Eastern Ontario number, 613-841-9286, and it said that the number was no longer in service.”
Next, Weber contacted the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s anti-fraud division and Visa to let them know about the call.
“I’m pretty savvy and aware of what’s going on, but there might be some individuals out there who would give them their Visa number,” Weber said.
Credit card fraud through phone calls and online tactics are becoming increasingly common, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Problems like identity theft are becoming more prevalent and now more than ever, the public need to ensure that they secure and protect their personal information,” they said in a recent media release. “This fact is a key component to prevention.”
The OPP also listed a numbers of tips for preventing identity fraud: “Changing passwords every 90 days with a non-personal, upper and lower case and with numbers; never use a common password for different social media sites; insure the latest anti-virus is installed; when searching internet sites, make sure the site looks legitimate; use cell phones numbers as a link to be notified of any changes to accounts; use cloud settings and implement multiple passwords for each one. If you believed your computer has been compromised, consider that everything on your computer has been copied – immediately change all of the passwords, including banking and credit card sites.”
For more information, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre.ca.