P.E.I. woman records, shares scam call from police impersonator

Charlottetown police and Island RCMP are warning Islanders about phone scams happening across P.E.I.

'I was really curious to listen to what they had to say and to see how manipulative it was'

A Stratford women says she recorded a phone scam Friday to help other Islanders in the future. (CBC)

Charlottetown police and P.E.I. RCMP are warning Islanders about a surge in phone scams happening across P.E.I.

Sara Campbell from Stratford saw the warning from RCMP just an hour before she said she received a call from a 1-800 number followed by what appeared to be a Charlottetown number.

When she answered the phone, she said she quickly realized it was a scam and decided to record the conversation. 

"I was really curious to listen to what they had to say and to see how manipulative it was and how people can be easily tricked by these tactics that they're using," Campbell said.

Claiming to be police

RCMP issued a news release Friday informing Islanders about a scam where an automated caller claims to be the RCMP. The caller then indicates your social insurance number may have been compromised.

In a release issued Thursday, Charlottetown police said many people are getting calls from a 1-800 number where the caller tells them they owe money and if they don't pay up, police will come to arrest them.

Sara Campbell who uploaded a recording of the phone scam conversation to YouTube, says she had seen a post from P.E.I. RCMP on Facebook before the call. (YouTube/Sara Campbell)

During Campbell's call, the person said they were an officer and insisted Campbell was part of an investigation.

"He made me write down his name and his badge number and the case number," she said. "Going through all these motions that made it seem really real." 

But Campbell said the dead giveaway was when the caller asked her what state she was living in. 

"Asking for a state when we don't have states, we have provinces," she said. "I just kind of went with it."

'Very real consequences'

Campbell said the caller told her her bank accounts were going to be wiped, the government of Canada was going to take all of her money and she was facing legal repercussions, like jail time. 

"So some very real consequences if I didn't play along," she said.

RCMP advised Islanders to not provide personal or banking information over the phone or internet, in the release.

The Charlottetown police say so far, no one they've heard from has been defrauded of any money. But if anyone has, they say to call your local police. 

If you have received one of these calls and wish to report it, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit its website.

And as for Campbell, she said she recorded the conversation in hopes of preventing Islanders from falling victim to similar scams. 

"Talk about it and share that information with other people who get the phone call and might not realize that this [isn't legitimate] and people are trying to steal money from you," she said.  

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