The Manitoulin Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is echoing the call for caution from the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) team in the face of a fraud targeting its members.
RHTLF reported to the OPP that beneficiaries have been receiving letters with the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and RHTLF logos.
The letters request personal and banking information to confirm the individual's eligibility for settlement funds and promises that money will be sent either by direct deposit or cheque once the information is received.
The Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) issued a warning to members late Tuesday, Nov. 21.
“These letters are branded with government and/or RHTLF logos and ask for individuals to provide personal and banking information to confirm their eligibility for distribution,” read the release from RHTLF. “Once details are provided, it promises to either direct deposit or mail a cheque.”
On June 17, the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) and the governments of Canada and Ontario announced a proposed settlement of $10 billion for past compensation following negotiations in the Robinson Huron Treaty annuities case. Canada and Ontario have not yet signed the settlement officially.
In a recent release, the RHTLF announced a “goal timeline” of February 2024 to receive the $10 billion settlement amount from the governments of Canada and Ontario, and set spring/summer of 2024 as the target for communities to begin per capita distributions.
It then notes that the governments of Canada and Ontario have not begun to issue settlement cheques, and in addition, “will not ask for your financial information via mail, e-mail or text.”
The OPP, in their Nov. 28 release, also states “the RHTLF and the governments of Canada and Ontario have not started to make any settlement payments. They will also not ask for financial information by mail, e-mail, or text message.”
The OPP also offer tips for protecting against scams:
- Do not open email from people you don't know. Try reaching out to the sender directly through their official email or phone number to make sure it is legitimate. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.
- Look at the branding carefully. Scammers tend to use logos, email or postal addresses that are very similar to the real ones. Check carefully to see if there are slight differences in spelling or the logo in order to fool you.
- Be careful whenever there is a link. Malicious links can come from your friends and contacts if their accounts have been compromised.
- Secure your personal information. Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Insurance Number, account numbers, or passwords, be sure the website is secure.
- Resist the pressure to act right away. Scammers often use urgency as a pressure tactic to get your information quickly. Please verify the credibility of an organization before sharing your personal information.
"Frauds are always changing as scammers try and take advantage of new people and new situations, but you can help protect yourself by being aware of the tactics they use," said Cst. John Hill, in the OPP release. "Be suspicious. If you feel pressured to give information or money, do not give in. Stop communicating with the person right away and reach out and talk to someone you trust."
The OPP advises if someone believes they have a letter or message that is fraudulent, “verify its credibility by contacting your First Nation office or email [email protected].”
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, they ask you contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or your nearest police authority and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.