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Government scammers are getting bolder, and the Better Business Bureau is warning the public

July 30, 2020

Have you experienced a call asking for your personal credit card information or money, usually in the form of gift cards? Many times the callers will tempt you with government grants if the recipient pays with a prepaid debit card, or gift card.

Shawna-Kay Thomas from the Better Business Bureau says they are offering tips for ways to spot these government imposter scams.

One of the most common scans in Canada involve callers pretending to be government officials.

These scammers are evolving, and they're changing their tactics says Thomas, "Particularly because they know that the pandemic is on, and the government is trying to help as many people as possible. They're trying to offer assistance, and hoping that you will click on the link, that you will provide personal information that they can then use for identity theft, or to get money off of your credit card."

A Better Business Bureau study has shown that these scammers have gotten more diverse in the way they take advantage of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are tips in which you can try to protect yourself from these scammers.

Be wary with phone calls you receive from scammers pretending to be government officials. If the government needs to reach you, they will contact you directly via documentation in the mail.

Scammers may also be persistent in ways that they ask for money.

The Better Business Bureau also warns against wiring money over the phone, or releasing personal information.

"If you are wary of a call, just reach out to the government directly with a listed number. Reach out to that particular government agency and confirm with them if they made that call, or they need information from you," adds Thomas.

You can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre about government scams. 1-888-495-8501.

You can also contact your cellphone carrier, and they may offer scam call identification and blocking, or ID monitoring.

You can also file a report with the BBB Scam Tracker, https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/.

Crime