Some Strathcona County seniors have been targeted of a new scam is making the rounds on Facebook.
RCMP are warning about a social media hoodwink that attempts to trick users into sending money in the form of gift cards.
Investigators explained that the scam starts with a message through Facebook messenger from what appears to be someone in your friend’s list. The message talks about a federal government grant for seniors and asks victims to respond with their full name, address, age, and other personal information. It also asks victims to pay a fee of $1,500 or more, which the scammers claim will give victims access to a grant of between $100,000 and $200,000.
“This summer we have had two people who have reported this scam the Strathcona County RCMP,” explained Const. Chantelle Kelly with Strathcona County RCMP.
The scammers asked for the residents to send the fee payment through Amazon, Apple, Steam or Google Gift cards.
“No legitimate government agency, business or financial institution will ever ask you to make a payment with gift cards,” Kelly said. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Police note it is unclear at this point whether the scam message is the result of a victim’s friend being hacked or if it is just an elaborate fake account but advises residents to watch for any suspicious activity online and in the real world.
“We have seen other Facebook scams such as buy and sell scams and also prize scams where an individual is contacted stating they won a prize,” Kelly said. “In order to receive the prize they must pay money or purchase gift cards before they receive the money.”
If you’ve received any messages that sound like these, you’re asked to report them immediately to RCMP.
“If you have lost money or have given personal information then we ask that you call the Strathcona County RCMP or local police,” Kelly added.
You can also report tips on scams to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), on the Crime Stoppers app or at p3tips.com. You can also report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.