Phone scams are a problem around the holiday season. (Eddie Huband photo/Houston Today)

Phone scams are a problem around the holiday season. (Eddie Huband photo/Houston Today)

Electronic scams common around holidays

Diligence against strange emails and text messages is key

Phone and email scams are generally common during the holiday season, as many people are expecting packages and things in the mail, providing an easy target for phishers to trick people into giving up personal information.

Houston Today has received multiple reports of an email scam, posing as One Houston Today employee has received text messages for fake e-transfers, asking for personal and financial information in order to unlock the money.

According to RCMP North District Media Relations Officer Madonna Saunderson, she hasn’t heard of any recent reports to the RCMP of electronic scams in the area.

One local resident claimed via a Facebook post that they received a call from Canada border services saying that a package had been seized due to illegal substances in the package, when they weren’t waiting for any package delivery at all.

On Nov. 30, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a press release saying that they’re cracking down on spoof calls, and they’ve even implemented a new technology to do so.

“Caller ID spoofing is frequently used in nuisance and fraudulent calls to mask the identity of the caller. As of today, telecommunications service providers will certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new technology will help reduce the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing,” the company said the a statement.

This came a few weeks after CRTC Chair Ian Scott stated in an announcement that phishing calls currently make up roughly 25 per cent of all phone calls on mobile networks in Canada.

Even with the new technology in place, it’s important to be diligent about opening emails or text messages and picking up phone calls that seem off.

“If people receive what they believe to be a scam call, call the police immediately. Never give out personal information to someone you do not know. Even if it sounds legitimate. Remember a banking institute, or Canada Revenue for example, will never ask for personal information or confirm personal information. If you receive such a call, immediately hang up,” said Saunderson.

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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
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