New Phone Scam Targeting Toronto Landlines

Landline Phone Scam Alert

If you have a landline, you might want to keep an eye (or an ear) out for scammers. On Friday, the Toronto Police Service warned the public about a phone fraud scam that has already cost victims more than $5 million.

So what exactly is happening? The scheme starts with a phone call to a landline. The caller claims to be a retailer (usually a jeweller) who tells the would-be victim that their credit card is being used in a fraudulent transaction.

The caller may advise the victim to contact 911 to report the "fraud" or their bank to try and protect their accounts. Here's where things get complicated. The caller will lead the victim to believe they already hung up when, in reality, they're still on the line.

The victim then dials and believes they've reached a 911 dispatcher or their bank, but they're actually on the line with a second scammer who's posing as an investigator. The victims are then urged to transfer their money into a separate account to protect it throughout their "investigation." The "investigator" then requests credit card and other personal information.

While all the victims who have come forward so far are from Toronto, the police believe calls have been made across Canada.

In a news release, the Toronto Police Service gave a few tips for avoiding this and other scams:

  • 911 dispatchers won't forward your call to a police investigator
  • If possible, visit your bank in person if you ever worry about your account security
  • Banks won't advise you to transfer money to external accounts for security reasons
  • Take reasonable steps to confirm the identities of callers claiming to be police officers, etc.
  • Don't assume phone numbers that appear on call displays are accurate

Anyone who believes they're a victim of this scam is encouraged to contact the Toronto police.

5 comments

  • Michelle T.

    Got rid of my landline a few years ago, mostly because of the telemarketers and unwanted calls. Haven’t missed it for one second

  • Melissa O.

    We dropped our landline years ago. We have cellphones, no reason to have landlines plus you can block easily with cellphones!

  • Raptor200637

    So they will make me believe I hung up the phone without me actually doing it...?

    • DanielleDoiron

      The scammer tries to make the person who picked up the phone (so you) believe that they (the scammer) have hung up, when they're really still on the line. 

  • bbrooks

    Well thank you for sharing this warning. I think these kind of scams have been around for years. We should've known about them. Just a little suggestion. Don't answer call if you don't know/familiar with the number. I usually look up the number on Google or some sites like http://whycall.me to see if people have reported the number as scam, so that I could just block it without even picking up my phone.

What do you think?

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