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Canadian Anti-Fraud Warns Public of Vacation Scam

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The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning the public of an ongoing phone scam where fraudsters are posing as WestJet representatives.

Lisanne Roy Beauchamp, call-centre operations supervisor with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that fraudsters will often use well-recognized company names when they can and they often use auto-dial machines to find their targets.

“It is a computer system that dials your number and doesn’t actually know that your phone number is active until you pick up,” she said. “The best thing is to not answer an unknown call.”

Beauchamp says that the Do Not Call registry is another useful method to prevent unwanted telemarketers, though scammers often step over regulations to advance their motives. Instead, she suggests speaking to your specific phone provider to ask about call blocking services.

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“Registering your number is valuable.  Whether it is the DNCL registry, whether its the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or even your phone provider, the more that we can get in the database, the easier it will be to develop systems in terms of call blocking,” Beauchamp mentioned.

Beauchamp says that she hears cases about vacation fraud often. She says that fraudulent, deceptive or false solicitation will often ask an individual to pay for an advance fee or to purchase something before receiving a prize.

“The scammer will tell you that you’ve either won or have a chance of winning and the catch is that they could ask you for tax, insurance or shipping cost to receive the prize. Right away, that is your big red flag that this is fraud. If you win something and there is a fee, they’ll take it out of your winnings. You are not to pay something ahead of time,” Beauchamp added.

WestJet says they do not engage in telephone marketing and reminds the public to avoid sharing their credit card numbers and other private information with fraudsters posing as WestJet or any other vacation company.

Additionally, the public can contact the RCMP Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website here.

Written by: Nicole Reis

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