Surrey RCMP is alerting the public to an emerging trend in fraudulent activity which is being perpetrated using the communications application known as Whatsapp in conjunction with advertising seen on Punjabi TV and newspapers.
Within the past few weeks, Surrey RCMP has received two separate reports from fraud victims who reported their credit card data was stolen and used after they had shared their private information via Whatsapp believing that they were booking low-cost airline tickets.
In both of these incidents, the victims had responded to advertising seen on Punjabi language television and newspapers offering low-cost flights between India and Vancouver. They were directed to share their personal and credit card details required to make the flight booking via Whatsapp.
“These incidents are actively being investigated and police are currently looking to identify the individuals involved,” says Corporal Dan Klassen, Surrey RCMP. “This is a new trend of note and we are bringing the details to light so that the public are aware of the scam and can take steps to protect themselves.”
To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, you should take the following steps:
- Never provide personal or credit card details via mobile applications to an unknown third party
- Always book airline tickets through a secure booking website or a licensed travel agent
- Regularly check your credit card statement for potentially fraudulent charges
If you think you or a family member may have been the victim of a similar fraud, it is recommended that you make a report to your police of jurisdiction, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and to Equifax and Transunion to protect your credit score.
Anyone with information about these incidents are asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca.