The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) says it began an investigation into an international telephone scam after an elderly resident was defrauded $20,000.
Scammers presented themselves as reps from Readers Digest or Publishers Clearing House and told victims they had won a car or cash prize and had to pay a fee to cover taxes, delivery, or legal fees.
The police force’s detachment in PEI sent information to the RCMP Greater Toronto Area Transnational Serious and Organized Crime unit in December 2021, which conducted the investigation. The team also investigated the use of money mules, people who flow illegal funds to a criminal organization internationally and assist with money laundering associated with such scams.
In this case, the money went to an account originating in Jamaica.
The RCMP has charged 31-year-old Phylecca Smith with three offences, including fraud over $5,000.
The RCMP warns Canadians not to click on links in messages about suspicious tax claims and to be aware of people asking for personal or banking information.
Suspicious requests can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.
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Source: Royal Canadian Mounted Police