Using postcards with the message “You are their next target”, the Peterborough Police Service has launched a postcard campaign aimed at getting a crucial fraud prevention message directly into people’s homes.
“Our Service has done a lot of messaging and education around the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam yet we are still being inundated with calls from citizens reporting this fraud,” says Detective Constable Keith Calderwood, Peterborough Police Service Fraud Unit.
“The scammers involved are extremely aggressive and convincing. There are people today who are losing $4,000 or $5,000 as a result of this fraud.”
The Peterborough Police Service’s Alternative Response Unit receives between 15 and 40 calls a day from people reporting the CRA scam. The fraud involves a person receiving a message either by telephone, mail or text message from someone pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency requesting personal information and using scare tactics to get people to pay a fictitious debt.
From January to August 2016, approximately 32 people in our area fell victim to the CRA fraud and lost anywhere between $1,500 and $5,600.
“Our main message is simple. Don’t make assumptions about who falls for frauds and scams. You are their next victim” says Detective Constable Calderwood.
“Through this postcard campaign the message will be delivered directly into people’s homes and into their hands. We want people to know it’s okay to hang up if they receive a scam call. Don’t panic. Don’t react. Don’t send money. Don’t fall for it.”
Through generous funding provided by the Peterborough Northumberland Crime Stoppers and funding from the New Horizons for Seniors, 21,000 postcards have been printed and will be distributed throughout the area served by the Peterborough Police Service: The City of Peterborough, the Village of Lakefield and the Township of Cavan Monaghan.
Participating locations include local banks, pharmacies, grocery stores, coffee shops, senior centres, township offices and service clubs. Mac’s Convenience Stores is supporting the campaign and select Mac’s stores throughout Peterborough will carry the postcards. Mac’s Convenience stores have made it a corporate priority to educate their employees about the fraud in order that they can in turn warn and educate their customers.
“Crime prevention is one of the five core functions of policing in Ontario,” says Peterborough Police Chief Murray Rodd.
“Through this education and awareness campaign, our hope is that people will read the message and then mail the postcard to someone they think would benefit from this warning. We don’t want one more person in our area to be victimized by this scam. We want people to read it, sign it and send it.”
The police force would like to thank Commercial Press & Design Inc. for their generous support in the printing of the postcards at a reduced cost. For more information on the CRA scam please visit www.cra.gc.ca/fraudprevention. KG