With the holiday shopping season upon us, the OPP is reminding the public to beware of "porch pirates" who steal packages that are left at someone's house when they are not home to accept the parcel.
Some tips to help keep delivered packages safe:
- Track deliveries online and try to be home at the time a package is delivered.
- Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to receive your package at the time of delivery.
- If allowed by an employer, have the packages delivered to your work.
- Some stores provide a pickup-in-store service that allows you to pick up items from a nearer location.
- Consider installing a motion-detection home security system that records video and sends immediate notice of activity to your cell phone.
A few common frauds and how to protect yourself:
Fraudsters use social media, the internet, and phones to target potential victims of the emergency scam. Seniors receive a call claiming to be a family member or a close friend describing an urgent situation that requires immediate funds. Common themes have been that the family member (e.g., grandchild) was arrested or got into an accident while travelling abroad. Monies are required for hospital expenses, lawyer fees or bail. Usually, the potential victim is instructed to send money via a money service business or through prepaid cards, like Green Dot Money Pack, Pay Safe, or other types of gift cards.
How to protect yourself
- Confirm with other relatives the whereabouts of the family member or friend.
- Police, judges, or legal entities will never make an urgent request for money.\
- Never voluntarily give out family members' names or information to unknown callers.\
- Always question urgent requests for money.
These frauds often involve offers for telecommunications, internet, finance, medical, and energy services. In addition, extended warranties, insurance, and sales services may fall under this category.
The most common involves consumers being tricked into having their computers cleaned or repaired. Fraudsters call and claim to be a representative from a well-known computer company such as Microsoft, Windows, or Apple. The fraudster will claim that the computer is sending out viruses or has been hacked and must be serviced. The fraudster will remotely access the victim's computer and may run programs or alter settings. The fraudster will advise that a fee is required for this service and request payment by credit card or money service business. In certain cases, the fraudster will transfer funds from the victim's computer through a money service business.
How to protect yourself
- Do not provide personal information.
- Computer companies will not conduct proactive outbound calls for computer repair.
- Never provide unsolicited callers remote access to your computer.
- Request a call back number, verify, and do your due diligence.