Financial regulator warns of several reported scams in New Brunswick


New Brunswick’s financial and consumer services regulator is warning the public about a number of scams that are making the rounds in various regions of the province.The reported scams are targeting several segments of the population using various techniques.READ MORE: Top 10 scams of 2015 to watch out for this year Story continues below

“A pyramid network described as a ‘pay it forward cloud’ targeting women mainly in northern New Brunswick, a telephone scam targeting Syrian newcomers in Saint John and a phishing scam targeting small-business owners in western New Brunswick have all come to our attention in recent weeks,” Financial and Consumer Services Commission CEO Rick Hancox said in a news release.The commission is an independent Crown corporation whose mandate is to protect customers, regulate financial markets and offer related services.The pyramid scheme in northern New Brunswick positions itself as a gifting club that can generate a return of up to 800 per cent on investments ranging from $625 to $1,250.In Saint John, a family of Syrian refugees lost $400 in a telephone scam that asked for money and banking information in exchange for English lessons. The family’s interpreter contacted police, but the money was already taken from the account.READ MORE: Syrian family in New Brunswick victimized by phone scam offering English lessonsIn western New Brunswick, a woman contacted a photography business claiming to be hearing impaired and only able to communicate via text message. She wanted to buy services for a wedding and asked the business to charge an additional amount to a credit card. The extra money was supposedly for a wedding planner who was not able to accept the credit card directly.Another business received calls from the Maryland and Texas asking to provide $4,000 worth of interior design services with a down payment of $1,000. The money would be sent to another person who would grant access to the house that needed the design work, then the remainder of the design fee would be paid.RCMP said they are aware of the suspicious phone calls to the businesses, but no formal complaints have been made. Cpl. Chantal Roger, who works with the financial crime unit, said nobody was defrauded.“Fraudsters continue to become more sophisticated. We have been made aware of several businesses in New Brunswick being targeted specifically,” Roger said. “The fraudster is usually contacting them from outside of Canada and wants to pay up front through a credit card for the company’s services but then looks for bank account information to complete the transaction. These are all warning signs.”

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