WATCH ABOVE: The RCMP are speaking out about some of the most common scams targeting citizens this summer. Jessica Kent reports.
EDMONTON — In the months of July and August alone, there have been 17 reports of scams to RCMP in St. Albert, some tricking people out of thousands of dollars.
“The amount they’re being asked for is often two, three, four-thousand dollars or more,” said Cpl. Laurel Kading.
She stressed these fraud trends aren’t particular to St. Albert.
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“If you were to compare with Edmonton police, I’m sure they would say that this is throughout the area. As a matter of fact, I know from relatives I have in Manitoba, they’re seeing some of these same ones there.
“We talk about St. Albert, but it’s a trend everywhere.”
READ MORE: Fake Canada Revenue Agency calls making the rounds in Saskatoon
RCMP say there are three scams that are especially rampant this summer.
The Canada Revenue Scam
In this scheme, the fraudster calls someone and tells them they owe back taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency. The caller may even threaten the person, saying they have an arrest warrant or that they’ve frozen their bank account. RCMP say the fraudster may even threaten to seize the person’s property unless they pay right away.
“There’s some kind of very definite threat to it, which is really impactful on people,” said Kading. “It really scares people.”
READ MORE: Albertans continue to report telephone tax scams
The RCMP wants people to know the CRA does not operate this way.
“There’s going to be documents served, there’s going to be a legal process. Canada Revenue Agency is saying someone is misrepresenting them. They are even sometimes using phone numbers… that look like they are legitimate numbers.”
Revenue Canada asks that these calls be reported to the RCMP immediately.
WATCH: A Wetaskiwin woman recorded a tax scam phone call. Now, she’s sharing the conversation with Global News in the hopes of helping others. Shallima Maharaj reports.
The Grandparent Scam (or Emergency Scam)
In this scheme, a person calls claiming to be a family member and asks for emergency bail money to get out of jail. They ask for the money to be deposited in a trust fund right away.
“Someone calls up and says – especially if they hear an older voice – they will say something like, ‘Grandpa?’ or ‘Dad? Is that you? I’m in trouble.’ And they’re going to come up with some kind of story where they need emergency money for bail or something that they have to pay or they’re going to be held in jail,” said Kading.
“It’s always something very, very urgent. ‘Don’t think about it, just get the money. You wouldn’t want me to stay here long. It’s nasty.’ And, it works.
“People don’t want their family in that kind of a situation so they will go and wire money.”
READ MORE: RCMP arrest 11 alleged fraudsters in Montreal linked to ‘grandparent scam’
People in St. Albert alone have lost nearly $6,000 to this scam.
“We really want people in that situation, if they get those calls, ask a lot of questions, ask specifics,” said Kading.
If you’re not sure, contact police.
The Phoney Bank Inspector Scam
In this fraud, someone calls claiming to be a security inspector for a bank. They ask the person to withdraw cash to “test the teller’s honesty.”
“What they’ll tell you is that they’ve noticed something wrong with your bank account. Somebody is withdrawing funds from your account. They want to find out who it is. They want to find out where the glitch is in the circle,” Kading explained.
Then, the person is told to meet the “undercover bank inspector” in the parking lot and hand over the money which they say will be re-deposited into their bank account. The money never makes it back into the account.
RCMP say Canadian banks do not test their tellers this way or conduct business in this manner.
“It sounds very good, but no bank operates like that.”
St. Albert residents have lost more than $9,000 to this scam this summer.
Other common scams include Directory Scams, Prize Scams and Romance Scams.
If you get a suspicious call asking for money to be deposited or sent urgently, call the RCMP or your bank before doing anything.
“Don’t rush into sending money,” said Kading. “Talk to someone you trust.”
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has more information on common scams and how to protect yourself and report them.