The Economic Crime Section investigates Economic Crime, Identity Theft, and Scams involving amounts of $5,000 or more. To report fraudulent activity call Saskatoon Police at 306-975-8300. Incidents of Fraudulent Scams or Identity Theft may also be submitted online using the Saskatoon Police Online Reporting System
Most frauds are revivals of old schemes that have worked well in the past. The fraudsters may approach the victim in person, by telephone, fax, or over the Internet. This contact is unexpected and the victim often has no prior knowledge of the suspect. They will often pose a situation or a need that the victim was not aware of before the contact.
Most fraudsters or "con-artists" will make themselves out to be expert, legitimate, and/or persons in authority in order to gain the trust of the victim. To lend an air of authenticity to the scam, they will often piggy back their fraud onto a current legitimate business or societal trend that the victim is likely to be aware of.
These individuals who are using modern techniques rely on the same principals as those used in the past. They will insist on going outside "normal" payment routes and will insist that this is urgent, a onetime offer, and that all will be lost if not acted upon immediately. Legitimate companies may put pressure on you, but the deal will likely still be there tomorrow.
Typically the most vulnerable persons in society are also the most susceptible victims to this type of fraud; it is often the poor, desperate, lonely or the elderly that are most at risk.
Thousands of Canadians are defrauded each year. The scams come in a number of ways – over the phone, on the internet, or in the mail.
The first line of defense is to be skeptical of any approach that you did not initiate.
Remember: "If it sounds too good to be true..."
Do not bow to time pressure imposed by the individual - any legitimate deal will be there tomorrow. Take steps to guard your personal information at all times - do not give it out over the phone or the Internet unless you are 100 percent certain of the individual at the other end. You may need to verify the source through other means.
When making purchases over the phone or the Internet, take the time to verify the source of the communication through a third party. Most websites have a verification service and reporting system - use them. When you are sure of what you are purchasing and where it is located, use one of the established, third party payment companies. They are bonded and may assist you if you are cheated. If the seller insists on going through a different process (such a wire transfer), then there is a good chance that individual is attempting to defraud you.
Minimize your risk with the following tips.*
*Courtesy of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
When you have been defrauded, we recommend that you report the matter immediately to the local police with jurisdiction for where the fraud took place. Many of these frauds are not possible to follow-up in any practical sense; especially those committed over the phone or Internet. Nevertheless, the Saskatoon Police Service has an interest in knowing about these events and would appreciate a timely report from you. Some incidents of Fraud and Identity Theft may be submitted online using the Saskatoon Police Online Reporting System. You may also report in person at our Service Centre located at the Headquarters building between 7:00 am and 11:00 pm daily. You will be notified directly if there is something further we can do to investigate your crime.
If you have been victimized while using a legitimate web based company; you should use their system to report the fraudulent activity. **If you believe your personal information has been compromised, contact your financial institutions as soon as practicable.**
Below are a number of third party monitoring agencies that may assist in tracking and reporting the latest internet and telephone scams:
You may submit fraud documentation electronically with your online report if the attachment is small. For larger or numerous documents, please forward hardcopies.
Providing paper documentation to add to your police report may be done in one of the following ways. Please ensure that your permanent file number has been added to this information.
Fax: to the Saskatoon Police Service Fraud office at 306-975-1405
In person: drop off at the Front Desk of the Saskatoon Police Service between 07:00 - 23:00hrs daily.
It is becoming more common - someone using your name and personal information to commit fraud.
You may be a victim of identity theft if:
This is the ancient scheme of turning lead into gold. Historically many rich and powerful kings were defrauded of their fortunes by con artists who purportedly could turn lead into gold. This usually entailed sleight of hand where the fraudster would exchange the lead for a small sample of real gold.
Believe it or not, this basic con still works today and is called a "Black money" scam. An individual is convinced through various means to provide a sample of real money to the criminal. Through a 'chemical process' they will purportedly turn the blank pieces of paper enclosed with the sample of real money into cash. The victim is shown the whole process and given the "new" money as an act of good faith. They are then asked to provide a much larger sum of raw currency for the next round. The criminals follow the same process, only this time they tell the victim that it will take a considerably more time because of the volume. The criminals will again use sleight of hand and escape with the real money. Days later when the victim opens the safe or package, all that is found is the blank paper and some unidentifiable chemicals.
This is an old fraud scheme that has been around for a long time. The basic premise is that an exiled rich person (in this case a prince), has a fortune tied up in a foreign national institution and requires some financial aid in order to obtain his windfall. Sometimes it a matter of paying off taxes, sometimes bribing officials in the homeland, and in some cases money is needed to pay for legal fees. They often claim an outrageous amount of money is 'tied up' and will give the subject a disproportionate amount of it as a reward for their assistance.
This old scheme has been given new legs by the easy research available on the Internet. Letters may arrive via normal mail but have the added value of your correctly spelled name and address, along with other details that lend credibility. Today they will often use your last name and claim to be lawyers representing a long lost dead relative. For additional credibility, they now can add letter head from any company in the originating country. They are very convincing and will often use realistic stationery, changing only the mailing address and the phone number. They promise a large portion of an unclaimed, lucrative estate if you will provide some front money. Today this scam is still remarkably successful. Many people have fallen prey to the prospect of a windfall from a long lost relative.
This is an old chestnut. Fraudsters will mimic the paperwork, the dress, and the language of a legitimate business or charity. They will don a suit or a t-shirt with the legitimate logo and go door to door "collecting" or selling subscriptions misrepresenting that organization. They will almost certainly ask for cash for the best deal and to ensure prompt delivery. Charities are particularly vulnerable to this type of door to door scam as it damages their reputations far into the future. If you are uncertain, contact the charity directly to verify that they have campaigners in your area.
The modern variation of this scam is the telephone and internet mimicry which is even more difficult to discern. Fraudsters will scan in official logos and use off shore sites which have uncanny similarities to the real businesses they are meant to replicate. They will use the same language as an aggressive telephone solicitor from a legitimate source. They will often call and advise you that your computer has been infected by a virus and you must give up control of the instrument. They will insist that you pay with a credit card for them to fix the computer. These scams are nearly impossible to trace and solve. The telephone calls are rerouted and are most often located off shore as are the originating internet addresses. They are often embedded in legitimate sites without the owners' knowledge.
This again is an old scheme with a modern twist. It is quite simple: the fraudster will give you a financial instrument (most often a cheque or money order) for a larger amount than you have requested. In return, you are asked to give the person a smaller amount of cash and you keep the difference for your trouble.
We see this now most often starting as an advertisement on a legitimate on-line website. The victim typically has placed an ad of an object for sale. The criminal will contact the owner offering to pay more than the listed price. They use a third party cheque and the condition that the seller forwards the cash first, or at the same time.
For instance: the victim may want to sell a television for $200. The fraudster will offer to pay the $200 using a third party cheque for $500 IF the seller sends $200 via interac transfer or wired money service. When the seller gets the cheque, it is found to be a counterfeit. The seller is now out $200 dollars and often their product as well.
This is an old scheme most often perpetrated on the elderly. They will get a call from a person pretending to be a friend of a grandson or similar distant relative. They will claim to be helping that person get out of jail or that they are being held ransom for a drug debt or similar circumstance. They may have intimate knowledge based on information gleaned from previous 'phishing' type of telephone calls or research on the Internet or social networks such as Facebook. They will insist that the grandparent act immediately and failure to do so will have catastrophic consequences. Again these criminals will ask for a cash type transfer. Recently, they have even pretended to be police officers from other jurisdictions.
Skimming occurs when criminals have interfered at Point of Sale Terminals (POS) where citizens swipe their bank or credit cards to purchase goods. Through various electronic means, they are then able to compromise the details of your banking information and use that information to take money from your accounts. These attacks on your money will typically show up in large even number withdrawals from 'White Label' auto-tellers on your statements. In most cases the bank will alert you because they see a pattern of behavior on a number of their clients' accounts.
We can retrieve video footage of transactions in some cases and often are able to investigate these types of complaints as a whole, or group of files, where there isn't enough evidence as individual events. In these cases it is important to be able to quickly identify where the original 'skimming' event took place in order for it to be useful in an investigation. If we are not successful in our investigation, most complainants will not be contacted except by our Victim's Assistance volunteers.