RCMP echoes warning for College students
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
In early November Douglas College, via their news and media notification page, warned students that Douglas does not accept Bitcoin.
According to the paragraph summarizing the news release, Douglas states that telephone scams are on the rise and reminded students that the College would never request personal or financial information over the telephone.
The news release links to a Coquitlam Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) news advisory where the RCMP further elucidate the increase in telephone scams in Coquitlam.
“You might be surprised to learn that the most common victims [of scams] are college-age, new Canadians, and elderly people of all backgrounds. As a community, we need to inform and protect our most vulnerable,” said Corporal Michael McLaughlin with the Coquitlam RCMP via the website news advisory.
The RCMP also documents that over a two-month period, 14 cases of telephone fraud have occurred—totaling over $66,000 dollars.
Douglas is one of the largest public colleges in BC, and as such the College has one of the largest international student populations in the province. According to the Douglas College ‘Quick Facts At A Glance’ document, available on the College’s website, approximately 17 percent (4,210) of Douglas’ 24,801 enrolled students were International students in the 2017 to 2018 academic year—the last year that enrollment statistics are available.
As such, Douglas has a large percentage of individuals commonly victimized by scams: college students and new Canadians.
The online security company, McAfee, reports that 33 percent of Canadians have lost more than $500 dollars in online scams in 2019, with scams expected to rise close to the upcoming holiday season.
Currently, the Government of Canada’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre states that the newest telephone scam targeting Canadians is the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scam where a caller (or recorded message) claims that the recipient owes the CRA money and will be arrested, sued, fined, or deported, if payment is not rendered.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and the RCMP claim that the easiest way to avoid this scam and other similar ones is to simply hang-up and report the incident to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or through the CAFC website.
Additionally, for individuals wanting to protect themselves against scams, the Competition Bureau of Canada produces The Little Black Book of Scams in several languages, detailing prospective scams in many domains including health, medicine, and subscriptions.