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New telephone scam making rounds in Muskoka

A new type of telephone scam has made its way to Muskoka.

The scammer will call residents from a call centre claiming to represent “Home Warranty Ontario,” and will offer to replace your home appliances with energy-saving models. They will then ask for your banking information under the pretense of giving you a rebate on behalf of the Government of Ontario.

Representatives from Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller’s office say they’re not aware of any companies by that name authorized to operate on behalf of the province.

Although this type of scam is not uncommon in Canadian cities, it rarely happens in rural areas. Bracebridge OPP Constable Samantha Bigley says this is the first time she’s heard of it in Muskoka.

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The scammer might give you a verification code to give them when they call back. They might call you by name and know the first three digits of your postal code. Bigley says this does not make a caller more legitimate.

“There are actually not-very-sophisticated ways to obtain that sort of information in the world that we live in right now.”

Norm Miller’s office says it’s noticed an uptick in calls about scams.

According to Bigley, this is likely due to the time of year. She says the start of the summer tends to be a busy time for fraudsters because of an overlap of tax season scams and cottage rental scams.

If you receive an unsolicited call or email, Bigley says it’s important to take time to verify with an outside source. 

“People should always slow down, take the information and verify it, whether that be through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the local police station, their financial institution, or through trusted family members,” says Bigley. 

“If the person is credible and legitimate, there won’t be that pressure to do something right now. [Taking] time will be acceptable if it’s a legitimate person on the phone.”

You can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone or on its website.

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