Police warn of Facebook, fake currency frauds

January 6, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells

Although there is likely far more awareness about Internet scams and frauds involving new technology in 2016 than there would have been in 2000, scammers are finding more ways to target individuals in the hopes of taking their money.

Two tools being used by the fraudsters are Facebook and high-resolution photocopiers capable of producing counterfeit U.S. currency.

In early 2015, local residents began reporting to police and on Facebook that they had received a call from a person claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency, demanding they pay what they owe for tax fraud/tax evasion or risk immediate arrest by the RCMP. Threats of deportation were even included to some, with all being told an audit had been performed without their knowledge and the money owed would need to be paid immediately.

“Frauds don’t seem to be going away, and fraudsters seem to be trying anything and everything they can imagine,” said Constable Scott Davis of the Orangeville Police in an interview on Monday. “We encourage residents to report any type of fraud or scam that they feel they are being targeted, regardless of whether or not they have lost money, as it could protect another potential victim down the road.”

Now, Dufferin OPP are warning of another new scam targeting residents, one where scammers duplicate a person’s Facebook account and use it to get personal information and funds from friends of the original account through the messaging service.

On October 14, police were notified by a Northumberland County resident that they had received a Facebook message from someone she believed to be a Facebook friend. The person reached out through the messaging app, and informed her that she was the winner of a Facebook lottery promotion. The ‘promotion’ supposedly landed her with $100,000, and she would need to contact a Claims Agent to receive her prize money.

The resident proceeded to call the number provided, where she was asked to send $600 for shipping and handling costs, and sent the money via Canada Post as a registered letter to a Florida Post Office. The next day, the ‘agent’ informed the woman that she would be required to pay a further $2500 which were required to ‘cover IRS costs’, and the payment was once again made.

Following a third request for more money, the woman became suspicious and contact her friend by phone. She discovered the account she had been communicating with was fraudulent, and had been
created to completely mimic the original person’s account. She immediately contacted police after her discovery.

The money was found in transit following a lengthy investigation by police, and both envelopes were intercepted before delivery through co-operation with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in Boynton Beach, Florida. The funds were returned to the resident.

In a press release Dufferin OPP sent out December 31, they warned the public that unexpected ‘winnings’ tend to be a fraud, just as was the case in this incident.

“I concur with what the OPP have stated,” said Constable Davis. “If it seems too good to be true, it likely isn’t genuine. Any time you are asked to pay a fee to receive a prize, you should be suspicious of the legitimacy of being asked to.”

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the real Facebook profile and the fraudulent one, as scam artists using this method tend to duplicate all information they can access from the original, as well as photos. However, there are ways to tell.

First, if you thought you were friends with the person already on Facebook when you receive the request, check your friends list to see if they are still showing. If they are, it is likely the new request is coming from a fraudulent photo. If you have already accepted the request, you can check to see when they started adding friends, and how recently the photos were added. If they were added within a short period of time, and you have another profile from this friend on Facebook, that’s a good indication it is a fake.

“It’s always important to try to use common sense with these situations, and if it seems suspicious, to do some research before giving away money or information about themselves,” said Constable Davis. “Doing this will help in preventing them from becoming victims.”

He added that so far, the Orangeville Police Service has not received any calls regarding this specific scam.

“We’ve received several calls over the last few months in relation to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam, but this is the first time that I have seen a scam like this,” he said.

One thing that has surfaced in Orangeville, however, is a scam involving counterfeit American money. In a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon, Orangeville Police are alerting local businesses that suspects have utilized counterfeit bills at various locations in the community.

According to the release, OPS has received several reports of counterfeit American $20 and $50 bills since 4 p.m. Monday afternoon. The purchases were made at several fast-food restaurants and at least one pharmacy, and transactions were completed with the suspects leaving before staff found the bills were fakes.

The OPS investigation has revealed three suspects in the case. The first is described as a white male, approximate 5’10” in height, 165 lb., with brown hair and wearing a dark winter coat, hoodie, blue jeans and dark shoes. The second suspect is a black male, 5’8” tall, approximately 140 lb., wearing a blue waist-length jacket, black pants, dark shoes and a dark ball cap. The third suspect is also described as a black male.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding these incidents to call the OPS at 519-941-2522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or online

Further information on counterfeit currency detection can be obtained by calling the OPS Community Services Unit at 519-941-2522 x 2221 or online at

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