In a press release from the Montreal police on December 1, we're told that "Criminals have taken advantage of the increase in online transactions since the beginning of the pandemic."

At the moment, the SPVM is warning of four major online scams: calls about your debit card, fake iPhones, buying pets online, and video game consoles sales. 

The SPVM provided tips to avoid such scams.

If the price seems too good to be true, it's probably a fraud.

And, "avoid doing business over the phone or on the Internet and don't pay out any money without seeing what you are buying."

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Calls From Your "Financial Institution"

According to the SPVM, someone committing fraud will contact you pretending to be an employee of the financial institution you use, claiming there has been suspicious activity on your account.

The person committing the fraudulent act will then continue to ask for the PIN number for your debit card in question, saying it is to cancel the card. They then use this information for "fraudulent transactions."

"Other cases have been reported in which the fraudster asks the caller to dial their PIN over the phone, claiming that the financial institution is issuing new cards because of the pandemic."

Police's advice for avoiding such is to remember that if you get a call from your financial institution, the employee will already have your information, so don't give out any additional details.


Fake iPhones

Yet again, fraudsters know everyone's looking for a new phone all the time, which is why we're being warned not to purchase them "at a very attractive price on certain online sales platforms," specifically the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Montreal police say that "The fraudster makes an appointment in a public place to complete the transaction."

They will likely claim to have received the phone as a gift or have got it directly from an Apple Store, for which we're told they may "even be willing to give a receipt."

As for the phone itself, it "often [...] comes in a sealed box or appears to be brand new. However, it is poor quality or non-functional fake."


Buying Pets Online

People committing fraudulent acts know where the market is. And right now, who doesn't want a pet?

That's why the SPVM is warning against purchasing pets from an online platform.

They say, "Pets are offered at good prices on online sales platforms. Behind some ads, however, are fraudsters. They require full payment, plus shipping and vaccination fees, before sending the animal for sale."

The issue is that then, the animal never gets delivered to the buyer and the money that was given to the fraudster is lost.


Video Game Consoles For Sale

We've all heard the rave about PS5s and turns out, so have fraudsters. 

"During confinement, many video game enthusiasts start looking for a new console, including the new PS5, which is particularly rare on the market."

The SPVM tells us that people online will sell video game consoles at a "fixed price" or will ask you to send them a certain amount of money to guarantee that they set one aside for you.

But in the end, "the money will be collected by the fraudster, but the device will never be delivered."

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